Voluntary firemen squads help sanitise Penang streets

GEORGE TOWN: As night falls, voluntary fire squads in Penang stay out and sanitise public spaces.

Fire engines are altered to spray a mist of food-grade disinfectant.

As the engines move, they spray nearly everything – bus stops, sidewalks, handrails, flats’ entries and even house gates and cars.

Eighteen uniformed volunteer firemen of Mount Erskine were spotted driving through the neighbourhood spraying disinfectant on things people may have touched.

From 8pm to 1am, the firemen spray 5,200 litres of disinfectant.

Mount Erskine voluntary firemen squad chairman MGoh Chin Wah said the initiative began on Sunday using donated funds.

“We focus on residential areas and public markets in Mount Erskine and use a food-grade alcohol-based disinfectant.

“So even if we spray it on people, it will not pose any harm,” he said, adding that his colleagues hoped the public would also stop spreading fake news about their work.

“We know some worry when they see us sanitising the streets. We want to assure them that this is just a precautionary measure.

“We are not sanitising because there have been cases in our neighbourhood.

“We just want to help and do what we can do,” he said.

MGoh added they acquired 200 litres of the alcohol-based disinfectant concentrate, good for 10 nights.

He said folk from Batu Feringghi and Teluk Bahang have asked if they could sanitise their streets.

“If we have enough disinfectant, we will do it. Disinfectant concentrate is not cheap and we have a limited supply,” he said.

The Health Ministry, however, told them to be better equipped and follow the ministry’s guidelines.

MGoh said they would resume spraying after getting more gear.

He said that five other voluntary firemen squads on the mainland were also doing the same.

The squad’s vice-chairman, Jackie Tang, said they spent RM800 to sanitise the streets each night.

“During each operation, we deploy one fire engine with two four-wheel-drive vehicles to refill the disinfectant,” he said.

Meanwhile, state welfare and caring society committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said 35 voluntary firemen squads were also helping the Penang Island City Council clean wet markets on alternate days.

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fire squads , Penang , sanitise , pandemic


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