KUCHING: The Fire and Rescue Department plans to set up more mountain and cave search-and-rescue teams to respond to emergencies in these areas.
The department's director-general Datuk Hamdan Wahid said so far, there was only one mountain search-and-rescue (Mosar) team at Mount Kinabalu in Sabah.
"We have appointed 40 mountain guides as auxiliary officers for the Mosar in Sabah, because they are familiar with Mount Kinabalu. They receive allowances and personal protective equipment.
"After this, we plan to set up Mosar teams in Peninsular Malaysia in areas where there are hiking and recreational activities, such as Kuala Tahan (in Pahang).
"We will follow the same principles as the one in Sabah and appoint guides as auxiliary officers," he told reporters after opening an excellence enhancement programme for zone and fire chiefs in Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan here on Monday (Oct 14).
Hamdan also said the department planned to form a cave search-and-rescue team at Mulu National Park in Sarawak.
"We believe that with proper training and skills, such a team will be able to operate more efficiently.
"We cannot treat it as general rescue because special expertise is needed to carry out cave rescues," he said.
He added that there were currently two cave rescue teams in the peninsula, based in Perak and Pahang respectively, while the Mulu team would be formed soon.