FSO team averts disaster at Sejingkat power station

One of the four turbine head units caught fire at Sejingkat Power Plant on Aug 13, 2020.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Aug 14: The Fire Safety Organisation (FSO) team must always be prepared when crisis strikes and that was what the team from Sejingkat Power Station did yesterday.

Thanks to their alertness and having attended an FSO course with Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Sarawak, the team successfully fended off what might have turned into a catastrophe when a fire broke out at 5.45am.

One of the four turbine head units was 80 percent destroyed near the building stored with hydrochloric acid, caustic soda, and hydrogen gas.

Being the first people on scene, the alert FSO personnel immediately sprang into action by taking appropriate measures to try and control the fire from spreading while waiting for firefighters to arrive.

When Bomba operations center received the distress call at 6am, a team of 21 firefighters from two fire stations was immediately deployed to the scene.

No injuries and related outages in Kuching vicinity were reported.

Sejingkat Power Plant’s Fire Safety Organisation (FSO) team namely Micheal Jawi, Farid Bujang, Tigang Doris Debong, Ariff Saadi, William Jimbun Wilfred, Wat Lembe Buli, Majlan Junaidi, Eric Jong Kuok Hiung and Colin Toh Kie Ing in a group photo with Khirudin (seated centre), Bomba Sarawak assistant director of operations Tiong Ling Hii (seated left) and Mohd Narzam Jaffar (seated right) after receiving their certificate of appreciation.

Emphasising on the importance of setting up FSO or ‘Organisasi Keselamatan Kebakaran’ (OKK) as one of the compulsory conditions for obtaining Fire Certificate (FC), Bomba Sarawak director Khirudin Drahman said it is crucial as this will be the first team to be deployed to the scene during an emergency.

“The efficiency and effectiveness of FSO in any organisation will actually determine the severity of an incident. Emergencies often happen when organisations are not prepared to deal with them.

“Always remember, the first five minutes is the most important moment for you to act when emergency happen. Therefore, emergencies require immediate response because a small incident can turn into a crisis, if proper action is not taken to control it,” Khirudin said when presenting the certificate of appreciation from Bomba Sarawak to Sejingkat Power Station FSO team today.

The team consist of its operation manager Mohd Narzam Jaffar and nine staff namely Micheal Jawi, Farid Bujang, Tigang Doris Debong, Ariff Saadi, William Jimbun Wilfred, Wat Lembe Buli, Majlan Junaidi, Eric Jong Kuok Hiung, and Colin Toh Kie Ing.

He added that when companies have FSO, they also provide a safe workplace and, in turn, improve the bottom lines of companies, big or small.

Praising Sarawak Energy Bhd for having an FSO team, Khirudin pointed that it is notable that the company is committed to reducing emergencies and limiting any destruction at their workplace, not just for building, but also dedicated to saving lives.

“In addition, FSO is also a sort of recognition entrusted by employers to their employees for being the ‘important’ persons who know how to safeguard the assets from fire incidents or accidents in their respective organisations. In return, this will motivate the employees,” he said.

He assured that Bomba will always support FSO team the necessary training and monitors members’ level of readiness to increase efficiency in fire safety procedures at the workplace.

Grateful to Bomba Sarawak for the training or courses, Mohd Narzam said having FSO in organisations have proven its worth.

“I want to tell everyone or every organisation that FSO is very important. When emergency happen, we cannot expect our firefighters to appear within seconds. With this team, we can act as first responders when something happen while firefighters are on the way to scene,” he said, adding that in yesterday’s case, Sejingkat Power Station was located quite far away from the nearest fire station.

Mohd Narzam also pointed to Khirudin’s message that the first five minutes were very crucial when it comes to any fire case.

“Imagine if we did not act during those crucial minutes. What would happen after that? That is why we must have an FSO team. In fact, our team existed a long time ago because Sejingkat Power Station is a high-risk place where we are exposed to many types of occupational hazards. Therefore it is the company’s obligation to ensure everyone’s safety,” he said.

Thanking Bomba Sarawak for constantly advocating on fire and safety, Mohd Narzam also thanked firefighters who responded swiftly yesterday and today’s certificate of appreciation.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Energy Bhd in a press statement said they were investigating the cause of the incident.

“The fire incident Sejingkat Power Station yesterday has damaged one of the turbine head units. The fire was extinguished by the Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department together with the Sejingkat site emergency response team and the site has been secured. The team at Sejingkat has ensured quick and effective incident responses, and swift and safe mitigation through emergency response preparedness including regular fire drills”, the statement said, adding that Sarawak Energy’s top priority is the safety of staff and the community.

The 210MW Sejingkat Power Station is a coal-fired power plant and its first two units were commissioned in 1997.

With 217 personnel operating at the station, it serves to provide additional security of supply to complement Sarawak’s predominantly renewable hydro generation mix.—DayakDaily