PENANG: Baywatch Penang will spring into action next month minus the sexily-clad babes and dudes seen on television shows Baywatch and Baywatch Hawaii.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will launch the emergency medical service team nicknamed Baywatch Penang on the shores of Golden Sands Resort early next month.
Malaysia Civil Defence director-general Lt-Jen Jamel Ariffin said the Penang Baywatch team would be a first for the country, adding that the team would be used as a role model for other states.
He said RM900,000 worth of rescue equipment including a rescue boat, an ambulance and scuba-diving gear had been purchased for the purpose.
The 24-member team is ready for action as they have undergone a six month intensive training course in Butterworth on boat handling, life-saving techniques, swimming and search and rescue, he said.
Lt-Jen Jamel was speaking to newsmen after visiting the new RM6.4mil Penang Civil Defence Department premises in Air Itam yesterday.
He said the state government and hoteliers association had agreed to support the departments effort to safeguard the safety of the tourists.
The rescue personnel would be working on two shifts from 7am to 6pm from Thursday to Sunday, he said, adding that eight observation towers would be erected along the beach stretching from Batu Ferringhi to Teluk Bahang.
The first observation tower would be set up at the beach behind the Golden Sands resort soon, he said, adding that although operating water scooters were illegal, the team was ready to handle water scooter accident cases.
The Civil Defence would, for the first time next March, accord medals to personnel and volunteers who made heroic rescues.
He said a Civil Defence Village Day would also be introduced beginning next year to provide an avenue to strengthen ties between the members of the civil defence family.
He added that the Civil Defence Museum would be set up by October this year at the Training and Defence Academy in Bangi.