SIBU: Five more Mountain and Cave Search and Rescue (Mocsar) teams will be set up in the state after the first one in Mulu National Park, says Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin (pic).
Mocsar is a special team set up to handle SAR operations in mountains and caves as well as fight forest fires.
The Mulu National Park Mocsar was set up by the Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department in 2017 after a drowning incident in Deer Cave which involved a Dutch tourist and a local tour guide on July 12,2016.
Speaking at a press conference after commissioning the new fire station at Sibu Jaya on Saturday (April 10), Zuraida Kamaruddin said the department would be scouting for local residents who are well-versed with the area to be members of the team.
"There is a need to form more Mocsar teams in the state. We will identify locals who are familiar with their areas and train them to be team members," she said.
Members of the Mocsar team, she said, would be given allowances and equipment for use during emergencies.
Besides that, Zuraida said the department would also be training more people, especially those from longhouses, to be community and volunteer firefighters to assist the department in times of emergency.
“Most longhouses are very remote and it is hard for us to build fire stations there, so we train the longhouse folks, give them basic knowledge of what they need to do in emergencies while waiting for help to arrive, ” she said.
Currently, about 600 longhouses in the state are members of the community firefighting initiative.
There are also 53 teams of Fire and Rescue volunteers with 2,900 members in Sarawak.
The new Sibu Jaya fire station is a Category C station built at a cost of RM5.8mil, Zuraida said.
Fire and Rescue director-general Datuk Mohammad Hamdan Wahid said the Sibu Jaya station is staffed by three officers, nine firemen and 15 volunteers.
It is fully equipped with machinery, an administration office, storeroom, and other facilities.
“I am confident that the fire station in Sibujaya would be able to cater to the needs of the community here besides helping out in emergencies in nearby areas, ” he said.
According to Hamdan, Sarawak has a total of 36 fire stations.