KOTA BHARU, Aug 9 — The Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) is planning to establish a strategic alliance with neighbouring Thailand starting early next year, said its director-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Hamdan Wahid.
He said besides existing informal cooperation between the two countries, this is to consolidate the collaboration as an official alliance in the event of a disaster operation or incidents involving Malaysia’s northern border.
“However, this matter needs to be referred first to the legal department of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.
“We are also planning to organise a joint training programme at the JBPM Academy involving water rescue as one of our steps to meet the requirements of the Water Activity Safety Council (MKAA),” Mohammad Hamdan said.
He said this after attending the presentation of the 2021 Excellent Service Award and Kelantan JBPM 30-Year Service certificate here today, in a ceremony which was also attended by Kelantan JBPM director Jainal @ Zainal Madasin.
In other developments, Mohammad Hamdan said JBPM will have new five fire-fighting boats which cost RM17 million, next year to reinforce rescue or disaster operations.
“So far, the five boats are under construction. I understand that the prototype of the boat is expected to be ready in March next year.
“We have also made an application to the government to add 50 boats into operation next year. If it is not possible as requested, we hope that at least every state will get additional new boats,” he said.
Mohammad Hamdan also announced that JBPM will establish a Mountain and Cave Search and Rescue Team (Mocsar) in Gunung Stong, Kuala Krai and Gunung Tahan, Pahang.
He added the move comes following the successful creation of Mount Kinabalu Mocsar comprising 35 auxiliary firemen.
Mohammad Hamdan said they serve as mountain guides in addition to being early responders before the fire department arrives in the event of a rescue.
JBPM has also created a Safety Water Rescue Team (SWART) comprising members of local communities to be JBPM’s ‘eyes and ears’ to monitor risky areas, especially on the coast.
He said the SWART established in Kelantan involved two teams in Tok Bali and Bachok, and one team each in Marang and Besut (Terengganu), set to become a benchmark and model to be expanded to other states — which Sarawak has now followed.
“They receive an allowance of RM8 per hour to monitor and observe bodies of water, especially at the beach that is popular with the people for recreational activities as well as for earning their livelihoods.
“In the event of any emergency like drowning, they are the first responders while also helping JBPM to give advice and guide visitors who are not aware of the hazardous topography of the location,” Mohammad Hamdan said.