Very crucial to expand State Bomba’s K9 unit

The Bomba dogs with their handlers during operations.

LAST OF A THREE-PARTSERIES

Director of the State Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Datuk Khirudin Drahman has called for the expansion of the department’s canine (K9) unit.

Khirudin Drahman

“The expansion of our K9 unit is very crucial. We hope to have the government’s support as well as funding for this,”he told New Sarawak Tribune.

He pointed out that establishment of the K9 unit in 2018 for Sarawak had contributed to the state Bomba’s capabilities, especially in the search and rescue (SAR) operations, over the past few years.

He reiterated that the K9 dogs’ tracking abilities had expedited the SAR operations and increased the percentage of survival.

“Only those who have gone through the ordeals can truly appreciate our K-9 team. The value of having a K9 team is similar to having supersonic jetfighters that are needed to protect our country from a potential enemy.

“It is an essential rescue unit that adds to our capabilities in building the trust for a multidimensional service that involves saving the lives of others,” he stressed.

Khirudin hoped that the stakeholders could see how pertinent it was for the state to enhance and expand the current K9 unit.

He pointed out that the number of lives saved was a very valuable indicator in evaluating the return of investment.

The Bomba director believed that the K9 unit was capable of providing even more significant contributions to SAR operations in the state. The unit needed to be expanded to further enhance its abilities and capabilities in Sarawak, he stressed.

Khirudin Drahman

Sarawak Bomba currently has six K9 dogs encompassing three disciplines, namely, fire investigation (FI), SAR cadaver and SAR wilderness with six handlers stationed in Serian.  

Khirudin pointed out that the K9 dogs were effective in discharging their duties. In life threatening situations, he said speed and accuracy were crucial factors that contributed to the success of operations.

“For the department, speed is of the essence when we are carrying out our duties for the people. The K9 unit helps  to expedite our efforts, especially in SAR options.

“Setting up the K9 unit in Sarawak was a great achievement as it further strengthened the department’s overall abilities and capabilities. By looking at the number of SAR cases in the state and its topography, Sarawak really needs this unit,” he said.

Khirudin added there was also a need for the state’s K9 unit to conduct more programmes to educate and engage with the public.

“Unfortunately, many people automatically think of crowd control and military war dogs at the mention of K9 dogs. With this misperception, of course, they are frightened and reluctant to be around the K9 dogs.

“However, this is not the case for our K9 dogs as they are trained to help and rescue people, not hurt them. The K9 unit enhances our duties as stipulated under Section 5 of the Fire Service Act 341.

“However, for the past few years, we have to be extra cautious due to the prevalent rabies cases in the state,” he explained.