By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Sept 8: The Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Sarawak will tap into the power of social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other applications in preparation to face the flood season in the state.
In light of the popularity of social media, where public tend to share and post incidents faster than reporting to the authorities, Bomba Sarawak director Khirudin Drahman said the department’s operations centre will monitor and utilise social media to check and share critical information during disaster periods.
“Social group networks will also be used to enhance our coordination and communication between relevant agencies such as state disaster committee, district office, state and local department heads, community leaders, village chiefs and others deemed necessary for faster and effective up-to-date information and follow-up,” Khirudin said in a statement.
As part of their contingency plan, the department has also limited its personnel and officers from all ranks’ annual leave to 20 per cent.
However, those who are on leave will remain ‘on call’ or subject to recall anytime, depending on situation.
This is to ensure that the number of personnel in each station is sufficient for operational purposes.
“All seven zone and 34 fire station heads have been instructed to ensure that their land, water and air assets are in tip-top condition to ensure rescue and evacuation works can be carried out smoothly during flood situations,” he added.
The department’s current logistic are aluminium boat (45), 4×4 vehicle (50), lorry (12), Personnel Floating Device (448), Kevlar boat (1) and AW189 helicopter (1).
They are collaborating with Radio Amateur REDS for drone equipment.
The firefighters conducts periodic patrols and monitoring of flood risk areas.
At the same time, the department has mobilised their Community Fire Volunteer and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) to the ground for monitoring.
Meanwhile, Khirudin pointed that the community should have the availability to analyse minor or major incident and how to overcome it.
In anticipation of the monsoon season and floods especially towards the year end to early 2021, he urged the community especially those living in low areas to be prepared.
Calling on them to give their full cooperation, he asked everyone to always be on alert of the weather situation be it by social or print media, radio and television.
“Floods can occur anywhere, making them the most frequent natural disasters with the potential to cause significant damage to buildings, infrastructure and even lives. Hence, those living in flood prone or low laying areas must always be sensitive on water level conditions. Early preparations are advisable, such as moving furniture to higher or safer area, keeping important documents in plastic bags, food and water ration.
“Avoid any recreational activities in waterfalls and rivers. Parents must constantly monitor their children by not allowing them to play in the monsoon drains, mines, water lines and river in time of flood,” he said.
Khirudin also urged everyone to follow advise and instructions given by authorities to avoid any untoward incidents during the flood and move to evacuation centre when asked to.
“The public should contact us immediately in case of emergency so that immediate assistance can be provided. We are fully prepared to respond to non-fire emergencies such as flood.
“The public relies on first responders during emergencies, and the more substantial the incident or the disaster, the greater the need for assistance delivered by Bomba and others with public safety missions,” he added.—DayakDaily