KUCHING: The Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) yesterday handed over vehicles and fire equipment to various fire stations in the state.
The handing over ceremony took place at the Bomba headquarters, Jalan Setia Raja in conjunction with the department’s monthly assembly.
Bomba state director Khirudin Drahman said five Toyota Hilux 4×4 vehicles were presented to the Operation Division (Headquarters); Tanjung Manis fire station; Daro fire station; Samalaju fire station and Zone 6 office (Miri).
Three Rapid Intervention Motorcycles (RIM) Kawasaki Versys 650cc motorcycles were handed over to Lopeng fire station (Miri) and 422 sets of Bunker Gear and other personal equipment to all seven zones and 32 fire stations in Sarawak, he added.
“We will be receiving six more RIM Honda motorcycles soon. A total of 422 Bunker Gear sets were handed over in the first phase of distribution. The second phase will see the distribution of more Bunker Gear sets to more than 1,300 firefighters in the state.
“We have waited very long for these assets to be distributed to all firefighters in the state,” Khirudin pointed out when met by reporters after the handing over programme.
When asked whether would it be sufficient, he informed that at the moment, these handing overs were for critical assets but a request to have these equipment for all firefighters in the state was also made.
He added, “In two weeks’ time, we will be completing the training for 79 firefighters in Bau and we will supply them with the equipment and ensure that they are enough for them when performing their duties.”
On the recent haze in Sarawak, Khirudin revealed that almost 9,000 acres of land in the state were affected by the wildfires.
He said firefighters had to spend a lot of time fighting the fires.
“That is why we have repeatedly informed the public not to conduct open burning during the dry season.
“Imagine the time we had to spend in Sri Aman and the amount of resources we had to sacrifice to put out the fires,” said Khirudin.
He added he had made an analysis on the matter and brought it up to the state-level and to Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB).
“Next year, we will enforce certain laws. Land owners who caused fires due to negligence will pay a certain amount of fine.
“This is to ensure that we (Bomba) do not waste our resources (equipment, food and beverages) and energy to deal with such acts.
“Apart from that, the leave for our firefighters has been affected. It was frozen during the haze season and now again during the monsoon season.
“These are several impacts on the department and we hope that the people will cooperate with the department in the future,” he said.