KUCHING: Sarawak will have three more fire stations when they are completed next month, completing the existing 36 stations statewide.
Sarawak Fire Department director Datuk Khirudin Drahman said the three fire stations in Asajaya, Kidurong and Lutong were expected to complete either end of this month or early February.
“Ideally to have an effective fire coverage in Sarawak, the department needs an additional 20 fire stations to our existing 36 stations.
“So far, we have three stations nearing completion and the rest have yet to be announced and are still in the planning phase,” he told a media conference at the Sarawak Fire Department Headquarters, here, on Tuesday (Jan 18).
Khirudin also said there were plans for the construction of auxiliary fire stations.
However, for the short-term plan, the community needs to be trained to be a disaster resilient society and be the first responders, in the event of a fire, he said.
He explained that engagement with the community in rural areas as well as with corporate bodies was vital so that they knew how to respond on their own without waiting for rescue agencies.
“We are hoping that our officers are able to go to the ground and educate those in longhouses.
“In our planning, we might also use our helicopter services to bring our officers to educate the community in rural areas. As the saying goes, hit two birds with one stone; when our men fly to investigate or explore the rural areas, they can spend two hours on the ground there to talk about fire prevention and distribute fire extinguishers to them,” he said.
Khirudin also revealed that his department would be establishing two Special Water and Rescue Teams (SWARTs) in the future.
The pilot project for water safety will be launched soon at Telaga Air and Bako where the teams will be placed.
“We will train the fishermen in those villages and appoint them to be part of SWART where they will be given allowance for their duties.
“This project is in the discussion phase and we hope the private sector will cooperate with us on this project,” he said.