MARANG: The participation of women in the fire service shows an increase even though the number is still low, said Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.
She said there was a significant increase in the number of trainees this year by 44, compared to just two last year.
“I encourage the Fire department to recruit more female firefighters as they have space and special tasks in the department, such as handling trauma victims and public awareness work, that requires a woman’s touch,” she said.
The number of female firefighters in the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department nationwide is currently small, only 647 members are women out of the overall 14,500 fire personnel, she told reporters after attending the Series 1/2019 Fire Science Certificate Course programme at the East Region Fire and Rescue Academy in Wakaf Tapai, today.
A total of 689 trainees received their certificates, on completion of the course, presented by Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department director-general Datuk Mohamad Hamdan Wahid.
Zuraida also said that many diploma holders and graduates were pursuing careers as firefighters, thereby showing that it was no longer considered a second-class job.
“More than 100 trainees this year are diploma holders while 30 graduates are in various fields,” she said.
In another development, Zuraida said the flood situation in the country is under control and can be handled well by the Fire and Rescue Department in each affected state such as Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Johor and Sabah.
Hence there is no need to mobilise firefighters from across the country to help flood victims in the affected states, she said.
“Even now we are still freezing leave of fire personnel and officers until March, but we are giving exemptions to certain groups such as (for members) in Sabah and Sarawak who are celebrating Christmas,” she said.
A helicopter was also stationed at the East Region Fire and Rescue Academy for use during floods in the East Coast.
Zuraida added, they planned to add eight more helicopter assets including an ambulance helicopter (EMS) equipped with complete emergency medical equipment like an ambulance, next year.
“The government will review all helicopter services needed by government agencies, including the Civil Defence Force and the police.
“There is possibility to allow Russian companies to open a helicopter manufacturing hub in Malaysia and that’s where we can benefit by getting lower purchase prices and service charges for helicopters,” she said. – Bernama