KUCHING: The Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) will beef up its logistics to enhance its capabilities in responding to emergencies, including floods.
State Bomba director Nor Hisham Mohammad said the department would receive eight vehicles for transporting boats, nine lorries and 21 ambulances in March or April.
“We notice that other agencies have boats but they do not have trailers or lorries to transport them, so this can become a critical issue. Based on our experience, we feel we need to enhance our capability to assist other agencies in transporting boats to flooded areas,” he told a press conference after the department’s annual parade here.
He said the department also planned to increase its paramedic teams throughout the state with the addition of the new ambulances.
“At present we have three ambulances and about 80 paramedics statewide. If we have 10 teams we will need 120 paramedics for the whole state.
“The new ambulances will be stationed in Category A and B fire stations first, but we will also place them in locations such as Sri Aman, Betong and Saratok to cater for the Pan-Borneo highway,” he said.
Nor Hisham also said 31 new fire and rescue stations had been proposed for Sarawak, comprising six Category C stations in Kuching, Bintulu, Miri and Sibu and the rest Category D stations in rural areas such as Belaga, Lubok Antu, Sebauh and Kuala Baram.
He said the new stations were part of the department’s efforts to achieve an 80% rate of responding to emergency calls within 10 minutes.
“In Sarawak, the rate is about 50% at the moment because some fires occur in remote locations,” he said.
On flood operations, Nor Hisham said 555 officers had been involved in assisting relief efforts in Kuching, Samarahan, Mukah, Limbang and Lawas since Jan 17.
He said Bomba personnel helped to evacuate 4,283 flood victims to relief centres besides assisting the Welfare Department to deliver food rations.
“The recent floods in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Perak raised awareness among people in Sarawak on the importance of evacuating their homes when directed to do so. They cooperated well with us when we asked them to move to relief centres,” he commented.