MIRI: The state Fire and Rescue Department is roping in amateur radio operators in an effort to enhance communication linkages using radio systems to deal with fire outbreaks and search and rescue operations in remote jungles and mountainous terrains.
The department has started a pioneer project towards that collaboration in northern Sarawak and if proven successful, it will be extended to other parts of this vast state.
Yesterday, Miri fire chief Supt Law Poh Kiong held a closed-door meeting with several members of the Miri Amateur Radio Club to discuss about the mechanics of implementing the project.
“The Miri Fire and Rescue Department has formed a partnership with amateur radio operators in the city in what is a first step towards securing faster communication linkages to coordinate fire fighting and search and rescue efforts in the deep interior.
“This plan to use amateur radio as a form of communication was discussed before at the state level in view of the fact that radio sets are still effective for voice communication in those places where there is no telephone coverage.
“Radio is thus very useful in dense jungles and highland regions such as in interior northern Sarawak, where we have been facing difficulties coordinating swift response to fire outbreaks in rural settlements due to telecommunication woes,” he said.
Supt Law said there are many amateur radio operators from Miri who have networked with radio operators in rural settlements in the remote districts.
If such radio linkages can be connected to the communication lines of the Fire and Rescue Department stations in Miri city and other fire stations in other districts and sub-districts, they can be used to raise the alarm in the event of an emergency such as fire outbreaks, floods and other disasters or accidents, he stressed.
Supt Law said there have been too many fire outbreaks in remote longhouses and because of the lack of telecommunication links, it is hard to deploy swift response.
He hopes that with the cooperation of amateur radio operators, the Fire and Rescue Department will be able to tackle such fires better and reduce the damage to properties and save lives.
Another major fire occurred yesterday at a remote longhouse in the Sri Aman Division where Rumah Siliver Garik was razed to the ground.
The 3am fire saw 19 units of longhouse quarters burned. More than 150 people were left homeless when the fire swept through their settlement.
Luckily, all the residents managed to escape the flames. They were now being housed at the community hall pending assistance from the welfare department.