Fire stations ordered to monitor 4,795 flood hotspots


JOHOR BARU: All 335 fire stations nationwide have been directed to monitor 4,795 flood hotspots nationwide as part of preparations for possible widespread flooding due to the northeast monsoon, says National Fire and Rescue Department operations director Datuk Ahmad Izram Osman (pic).

He said Sarawak topped the list with 1,034 hotspots followed by Kelantan (595), Pahang (554), Sabah (520) and Johor (432).

“Most of these hotspots are near water bodies such as rivers, beaches, lakes, waterfalls and even tributaries,” he said, adding that the monsoon is expected to go on until March.

Ahmad Izram said that earlier, the west coast such as Kedah, Perlis and northern Perak had experienced flooding.

“Our preparations for the change of monsoon started in the middle of last month with us alerting all 335 fire stations nationwide to carry out checks at the hotspots.

“We are also prepared for extreme cases whereby flooding occurs outside the hotspot zones,” he said.

“The department is closely liaising with the Meteorological Department through reports every four hours to check on the country’s weather patterns. People living next to water bodies need to be prepared to evacuate on short notice,” he said in an interview.

He added that the department had already deployed 572 boats and 112 heavy vehicles to fire stations near these hotspots.

“We have also put our air wing on alert to help in cut-off areas or to assist in evacuation and to monitor hotspot areas,” he added.

Besides the 14,000 fire personnel nationwide, the department will also rope in 7,920 volunteer firefighters to help with flood relief efforts.

Ahmad Izram also said that during the last monsoon season last year, the department attended to some 1,078 calls related to floods.

"A total of 57,377 families comprising 210,071 victims were affected or evacuated during last year's floods," he said, adding that during the same time. flood waters also claimed 12 lives.

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