Sabah's Fire and Rescue department receives 18 ambulances to supplement medical services

Helpful: Nordin and Head of Emergency and Trauma Department (ETD), Dr Ahmad Hashim (right) taking a closer look at the Emergency Medical and Rescue Services (EMRS) ambulance during the handing over EMRS ambulance ceremony.

KOTA KINABALU: Disaster victims in Sabah can expect faster medical attention when 18 ambulances join the Fire and Rescue department this year.

State Fire and Rescue Department director Nordin Pauzi said these vehicles will be manned by specially trained firemen to serve as supplements for normal ambulance services provided by hospitals and other agencies.

“We want to ensure better services for the people,” he said, adding that the ambulances, costing RM490,000 each, are equipped with state-of-the-art life-saving equipment.

“We want to be able to stabilise victims while rushing them to the hospital, Nordin said, adding that three of the 18 ambulances had already arrived and are ready to be deployed.

Nordin said that the number of casualties from fires and other incidents in Sabah is also on an uptrend in the last three years, with 146 deaths and 473 injuries just last year alone.

“Emergency calls have also increase from 1,521 in 2012 to 1,646 in 2013, and to 2,544 in 2014,” he said.

“The increase showed there was a need for more efficient response to emergencies,” he added.

Nordin said the department managed to prevent losses amounting about RM1.1bil from fires and other incidents last year.

“We will continue to improve our rescue efforts and the same time have greater levels of engagement with the public to create a safer environment,” he said.

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