By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, May 11: The Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Malaysia has recorded more deaths from drowning cases than from fire.
Director-general Datuk Mohammad Hamdan Wahid said last year, there were about 400 deaths from water accidents and 97 deaths from fire.
“There are 19 hot spots that we have identified as ‘very high risk’ and 39 ‘high risk’, whereby each spot has recorded more than five cases in three years,” he said after the department’s breaking of fast yesterday.
Although he was unable to give details off hand, Hamdan said most of the death cases and hot spots were on the east coast of the peninsula.
The drowning cases occurred in the rivers and irrigation canals, water recreation spots, beaches, lakes, mining pools, waterfalls, and drains.
“This is an alarming number. There is a need to create greater awareness of water safety, including public education campaigns and targeted patrols at areas with histories of water-related accidents. This is what the department is aggressively doing right now. We are also keeping close tabs on these areas, especially with school holidays around the corner,” he said.
Hamdan opined that drowning cases were preventable, provided that all relevant parties and the public play their roles effectively.
Among other approaches are erecting signboards displaying safety measures and replacement of old, worn out signboards on water safety measures that will be carried out by the local authorities and relevant agencies.
“We know that accidents do happen. We cannot just let it be or leave it to fate. We have to do preventive measures to minimise these cases. There is also a need to teach children basic swimming skills so that they know how to stay safe in the water.
“We will also remind parents or guardians to be aware of the surroundings, always keep a watchful eye on the children and educate the children on the dangers of water,” he said. — DayakDaily