KUALA LUMPUR: Hundreds of thousands of ringgit were lost every day in fire-related incidents last year due to a lack of safety awareness, says Fire and Rescue Department director-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Hamdan.
He said that RM3.2bil in damages were reported last year.
“It is a waste because we don’t have an awareness of safety,” he told reporters yesterday after an open day at the Hang Tuah fire station here.
During the open day, some 500 students took part in fire awareness games and drills.
He also noted that there were around 300 deaths due to drowning last year, adding that most victims were youths.
There were about 130 deaths recorded relating to fire cases, he added.
On the lack of safety awareness, Mohammad lamented that Malaysians would only take such issues seriously following a tragedy.
“For example, after the Batang Kali landslide, people started talking about how a campsite shouldn’t be there,” he said, adding that concerns about illegal logging also came up.
“Such an awareness is only for a short period of time after a big tragedy. Generally, the level for fire safety awareness is still low nationwide,” he said.
A landslide hit the Father’s Organic Farm campsite in Batang Kali on Dec 16 last year, killing 31 people.The department has set a goal of having 60% of the public capable of assisting their neighbours in the event of an emergency or a fire before a rescue team arrives by 2030.
On the basis of statistics concerning Kuala Lumpur, the department said there were 217 fires last year that were reported from “high-rise residential homes”, such as condominiums and apartments.