KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — The Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) is anticipating greater challenges in dealing with the flood disaster this year, as Malaysia is still grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic, says its director-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Hamdan Wahid.
He the difference between the operations this year and during the monsoon seasons in the past was the adoption of strict standard operating procedures (SOP) to avoid Covid-19 transmissions.
He said among the main concerns was the SOP for evacuation and rescue operations if any quarantine centres or areas subjected to the enhanced control movement control (EMCO) were flooded.
“To deal with the situation, we have also placed markings in the trucks or machinery used for evacuation process to ensure compliance to aspects such as physical distancing and wearing the personal protective equipment (PPE) while on duty,” he told Bernama.
Explaining further, he said if any of the victims rescued or evacuated were Covid-19 patients or their close contacts, the personnel involved would be required to undergo screening based on the advice of the Ministry of Health (MOH).
“The additional measures were tabled at a meeting with the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) and it is in line with the requirements set by MOH,” he added.
Mohammad Hamdan said about 12,000 JBPM personnel and 14,800 members of Volunteer Fire Brigade team nationwide were currently undergoing preparations to face any eventualities.
“In terms of assets, a total of 47 aluminium boats, 51 fibre-glass boats and 40 amphibious boats have now been placed at the high-risk areas to face the floods
“The water-based assets will be aided by nine aircraft, with two placed in Bertam, Penang, five in Subang and two in Miri,” he added.
As an additional measure, Mohammad Hamdan said four Volunteer Fire Brigade teams with members recruited among fishermen at high-risk locations had been established at Pantai Dungun and Pantai Kuala Nerus in Terengganu, as well as Pantai Irama and Pantai Tok Bali in Kelantan.
He said the fire department was constantly monitoring about 240 flood risk areas nationwide through operation movement centres (PGO) in each state.
“Among the areas (at risk) identified are in the east coast in Kelantan and Terengganu and a part of Pahang, Kedah and Perlis, parts of Johor and Melaka in the south, near Sabah coastal areas, as well as Kuching, Kota Samarahan and Miri in Sarawak,” he said.
He said as of now, leave for JBPM personnel had not yet been frozen, however, the matter would be considered if the flood situation worsened. — Bernama