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By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, July 8: In the event of a fire, finding the closest fire hydrant to the building that is on fire is essential information for firefighters to locate and secure the water sources.
Fire and Rescue Department Malaysia (Bomba) director-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Hamdan Wahid said it was timely to upgrade the current system to locate fire hydrants in Sarawak.
For that purpose, Polytechnic Kuching Sarawak has developed a fire hydrant Geographic Information System (GIS) app tailored for Bomba Sarawak.
“Using QGIS open source software and Google MyMaps, the GIS management system will be used to mark exact locations of fire hydrants. Instead of using addresses or approximate locations, we now have precise coordinates.
“Not only does this help in the event of a fire emergency, but also in the day-to-day maintenance of the hydrants. Detailed logs of the condition and any work performed can be attached to the specific hydrant in the system. By knowing the condition of the hydrants, our firefighters can plan to use alternate hydrants if one is out of service,” Mohammad Hamdan said after the handing over ceremony today.
Present at the event were Sarawak Bomba director Datuk Khirudin Drahman and his deputy Tiong King Hui together with Kuching Polytechnic Director Hikmatullah Hajid Ahmad Khan.
Mohammad Hamdan asserts the importance of such technology to the department in their daily fire and rescue operations as the app can also navigate firefighters to the scene.
Apart from operations, he said it will provide efficient data management, data sharing, analysis of fire hydrant’s location, number, status and so on.
All fire records can be kept centrally, he added, to facilitate statistics and case studies.
“The country’s rapid growth, physical development and urbanisation has posed new challenges to the department. We have some five million fire hydrants in Malaysia and the majority of them are in Sarawak.
“Being the largest state in Malaysia, Sarawak’s geographic and topographic layout are very challenging and this is why the department has and will continue to adopt new methods to fight fires,” Mohammad Hamdan said.
Apart from using drones equipped with thermal cameras to coordinate operations in putting out forest fires in the country, they also use GPS location finder devices and satellite communicators.
Meanwhile, the event also saw Mohammad Hamdan handing over 10 units of Mitsubishi Triton 2.4 utility vehicle for Sarawak and presentation of Fire Hero certificates. — DayakDaily