Fire calls in Sarawak decline by two-thirds during MCO and CMO

Firefighters dousing a house fire. - file pic

by Nancy Nais

KUCHING, June 1: The number of cases recorded by the Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) from March until May 31 saw a drastic decrease of 64.5 per cent in fire calls compared to the same period last year.

Revealing this, state Bomba director Khirudin Drahman said they received 1,075 calls for fire cases in the three-month period last year, whereas this year, only 382 calls came in.

“The statistics are very positive because it shows that the number of fire cases has dropped dramatically despite the increase of kitchen activities throughout the Movement Control Order (MCO) and Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

“The decline in the number of fire incidents is due to public awareness, especially during the MCO and CMCO. Now, most households are aware of and more sensitive towards fire safety,” Khirudin told DayakDaily.


To curb the spread of Covid-19, the Malaysian government imposed the MCO nationwide from March 18 before easing it into the CMCO until June 9.

Although reported fire incidents have decreased, Khirudin urged the wider community to continue practising the 3P (precaution, prevention, protection) measures and avoid the 3L (‘Lupa, Leka dan Lalai’) syndrome, which refers to forgetfulness, carelessness and negligence, even after the CMCO is completely lifted in the future.

Firefighters attending to a road collision between two trucks. – file photo

Meanwhile, operations involving rescues also saw a decline.

“In the case of road accident operations under rescue and humanitarian services, the department recorded a decrease of 67.9 per cent, of which 76 cases were recorded compared to 237 cases over the same period in 2019. The decrease in road accidents was perhaps due to the MCO and CMCO as less vehicles were on the road.

“Rescue operations involving spills or leakage of dangerous substances also recorded a 43.8 per cent decrease, of which we received 59 cases this year compared to 105 cases in 2019,” he added.

The number of Search and Rescue (SAR) operations decreased from 51 cases for March-May 2019 to 33 cases (35.3 percent) during the same period this year.

However, emergency rescue operations involving structures and buildings such as individuals trapped in lifts, toilets, hands or legs stuck in machines and others, recorded an 80 per cent increase from five cases in 2019 to nine cases this year.

Firefighters working to free a person trapped under a collapsed wall. – file pic

Rescue operations involving natural disasters such as floods, landslides, and fallen trees also recorded a 58.1 per cent increase (117 cases) this year compared to 74 cases in 2019.

On the other hand, while people were told to stay at home to stop the spread of Covid-19, more unwanted visitors such as snakes, crocodiles, bees and other dangerous animals emerged, contributing 1,139 cases over the same period this year, compared to 964 cases last year. — DayakDaily