By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Aug 7: Hotels operating with expired fire certificates (FCs) or none at all are akin to a ‘sleeping risk’, Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) director PKPjB Khirudin Drahman said.
Currently, there are 229 registered hotels in Sarawak but only 102 are operating with valid FCs.
Latest statistics from Bomba revealed that 80 hotels are operating on expired certificate while the remaining 47 does not have FC.
FC will be issued after the building plan has been approved and fully complies with the requirements set by Bomba and Sarawak Building Ordinance (SBO).
“Hotels that does not have FC is a sleeping risk. The risk is much higher than shopping complex or office building. When fire happens in a hotel, those who are staying in may not realised that there is fire. It is very dangerous and basically waiting for disaster to happen,” Khirudin said after the handing over of FC to Roxy Hotel Kuching today.
Among the requirements needed before obtaining FC are fire alarm, fire system, smoke detector, emergency staircase and others.
Warning hotel operators that Bomba does not take this issue lightly, Khirudin said lives are at stake because hotels generally accommodate many people from staff to guests.
Although the remaining 127 hotels are in the process of renewing or applying for FC, he advised these operators to approach Bomba to seek their advice to resolve their problem, if any.
“We are serious about this because we do not want to end up with victims trapped in the building when there is an incident.
“To all hotel owners or operators, do not be complacent or believe that a fire incident will not happen at your property. Please equip your building to fight fire,” he added.
When asked on why some hotels do not apply for FC, Khirudin explained that there are those that cannot do so because they do not have a business license.
In such cases, he said Bomba has met with the local councils to discuss on the matter.
“After the discussion, we have formed a task force to monitor and check on premises like these. In fact, from May 15 to June 6, Bomba fire and safety division (BKK) have inspected 802 premises statewide for OP, FC, business license and removal of fire hazard (MBK).
“As for smaller premises such as boutique, bed and breakfast, backpackers and budget inns that has 25 rooms and below, they don’t need FC, but they must have OP. For these type of premises, we will conduct MBK and advise them to keep the area clear.
Meanwhile, Khirudin also advised all hotels to have its own Emergency Response Team (ERT).
This is to enable hotel staff to know ‘what to do’, in the event of an emergency.
“When an emergency occurs, whether minor or major, the first five minutes is so important because it can save lives. Your immediate response towards any emergency is important especially when you have people staying in the building.
“We don’t expect hotel staff to be a firefighter, but at least they know what do while waiting for actual firefighters to arrive,” Khirudin said, adding that the department has been engaging with hoteliers on ERT and will continue to do so.-DayakDaily