Malaysia: Fire and Rescue Department on full alert following El Nino phenomenon

FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR New Straits Times 19 Jan 16;

PUTRAJAYA : The Fire and Rescue Department is on full alert for peat and bush fires following the El Nino phenomenon which is expected to last until March.

Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman said the firemen were on 24-hour standby mode for possible fire incidents in view of the hot and dry spell.

“Previously, our firemen were all prepared to face natural disasters including flash flood. We are grateful that the flash flood did not happen like in 2014.

Now, the firemen are focusing on the current hot and dry weather which could potentially lead to forest fires.

“With the addition of equipment and assets to the fire and rescue department, we hope to improve the quality of service and respond to emergencies more efficiently,” he said after presenting fire engines and equipment at the Putrajaya Fire Department, here yesterday.

At the event, the department received five 'Amphibious Rigid Inflatable Boat' , 47 four-wheel drive utility vehicles, eight Amphibious All Terrain Vehicles and other rescue equipment.

On a separate matter, Rahman said the government was in the process of appointing committee members to the new Water Safety Activity Council.

The council, which was approved by the cabinet on Jan 6, was formed to address the increasing fatalities during water activities and to raise awareness on water safety among the community.

“We want to ensure only deserving members are appointed in this council so that we can reduce the number of accidents involving water activities.

We have yet to decide when we will hold our first meeting,” he said.

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