Friday, January 16, 2009




Last year the state Fire and Rescue Department received less distress calls last but recorded more losses of properties compared to the previous year.

There were a total of 826 distress calls received last year, which is actually lower by 299 calls or 26 per cent compared to 1,125 calls in 2007.

Department Director Khirudin Drahman disclosed that for the whole of last year, they recorded losses amounting to RM84,628,967.60, which shows an increase of 55.9 per cent or RM30,365,330.75 against 2007’s RM54,263,636.85.

“The amount of goods and properties saved last year was RM299,573,534, which is a decrease compared to RM488,674,912.47 the previous year,” he told reporters after presenting excellence service awards to 49 recipients at the Kolombong Fire and Rescue Services Station yesterday.

Statistics showed that the number of fire involving factories and shops increased by 16 cases from 28 in 2007 to 44 last year, which according to Khirudin, had contributed to the increase in losses last year compared to 2007.

Electricity remained the main cause of fires with 172 cases in 2008 which is an increase of 14 cases or 8.8 percent compared to 2007's 158 cases the year before, while other causes such as mosquito coil, candles and incense, had dropped.

Khirudin explained that their forensics division revealed that in most of the fire cases involving electricity, the fire were due to old wiring or non compliance with the specification, using low quality electrical appliances and self-negligence, among others.

Apart from putting out fires, the Department is also called to assist other enforcement agencies such as rescue services during accidents or drowning cases.

“We were involved in at least 53 accident cases and 41 drowning cases last year. These are just part of the services we provide, apart from putting out fires and handling other threats such as catching snakes and bees,” he said.

Khirudin added that in some cases, they had to turn down public requests to catch snakes and bees. “We will act if it is threatening the people, like if the snake is in the house. Otherwise, we will advise them to contact the pest control,” he said.

Khirudin also said that they are working to improve their response time to emergencies.

“Therefore, we are hoping for public cooperation by making way for fire engines. It is important for us to reach the scene as soon as possible to save life and properties. Every minute counts. We believe that if we can get to the scene in less than 15 minutes, a lot of things can be saved,” he explained.

Earlier in his speech, Khirudin also called on his men to continue to improve their skills and knowledge in the effort to face future challenges and to stay competitive.

“Our services are recognised by the United Nations as we were selected to help out in many cases outside the country such as forest fires in Indonesia. One needs relevant skills to carry out such work,” he said.