Fire and Rescue Department ready for floods during monsoon season, says head

Fire and Rescue Department director-general Datuk Mohammad Hamdan Wahid said his department will be monitoring additional locations aside from the usual flood hotspots as the monsoon season dawns.— THOMAS YONG/The Star

JOHOR BARU: The Fire and Rescue Department will be monitoring additional locations aside from the usual flood hotspots as the monsoon season dawns.

Department director-general Datuk Mohammad Hamdan Wahid said about 250 flood hotspots have been identified nationwide, adding that they are usually monitored by rescue agencies as the flood season starts.

“We have taken the initiative to look at other areas too, such as locations that are not usually flood-prone but have the potential to face bad floods such as certain areas in Kota Tinggi, Maran and Lipis,” he said.

“This includes the location where Melaka Tengah Fire and Rescue Department firefighter Mohd Diya Che Jusoh was conducting flood rescue operations before he passed away recently - the location was not a known flood hotspot yet the incident took place,” added Mohammad Hamdan.

He said that this monitoring is also to ensure that the Department is well-prepared in disaster management efforts.

Speaking at a press conference after handing out medals and certificates for excellent service to a total of 137 Department staff on Thursday (Oct 28), he added that their assets would be used strategically for its disaster management efforts.

“The Department has about 550 boats, 800 lorries of different sizes, five aircrafts and other marine and rescue equipment in total at about 320 fire stations, ready to deploy for flood relief and rescue activities,” said Mohammad Hamdan.

“As our assets are considered limited, we will optimise what we have and roll them out strategically. When states such as Johor need assistance, support will be deployed from other states,” he added.

Mohammad Hamdan also said that the leave of the department’s some 12,500 staff would be frozen during the flood season, depending on the situation.

“The rate of staff leave that will be frozen ranges from 20% to a full 100% and if need be, we will redeploy those who have gone on leave,” he said.

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