Firemen in the north on high alert for floods

Ready to help: Some 1,700 personnel from 20 fire stations and several voluntary fire squads in Penang are on standby in case floods occur. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Some 1,700 personnel from 20 fire stations and several voluntary fire squads in Penang are on high alert for floods.

State Fire and Rescue Department director Saadon Mokhtar said all firemen underwent rigorous flood rescue training in September.

“The training emphasised special tactical rescue operations during disasters and involved water rescue drills and boat handling,” he said yesterday.

Saadon said they had 24 amphibious vehicles and 55 multifunction vehicles ready to be deployed for flood relief and rescue.

He said it also had 550 boats, 800 lorries of different sizes, five aircraft and a large assortment of marine and rescue equipment.

He also said the Bandar Perda fire station had been designated as the regional forward base for the northern region, functioning as the base for personnel and logistics deployment for Penang, Kedah, northern Perak and Perlis.The department had identified 281 flood hotspots which were being closely monitored for floods, he added.

In Kedah, the state Civil Defence Force had put its 1,000-strong team on standby.

The force’s disaster management committee secretariat head Mejar (PA) Muhammad Suhaimi Mohd Zain said they had 14 lorries, 70 boats, 11 4x4 vehicles, 14 ambulances and a drone that could be used during disasters.

“All our officers are ready to be deployed at any time and they are monitoring flood-prone areas in all 13 districts in the state,” he said, adding that emphasis was placed on Baling where there were regular flash floods caused by water surges in rivers nearby.

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