Volunteer Fire and Rescue Force now officially under Bomba’s purview

Hamdan (back row centre) with the overall winner 'Labuan 1' for Volunteer Fire and Rescue Force (PBS) convention Borneo Zone 2019. Also seen (standing, from left) is Bomba Sarawak acting deputy director operations Tiong Ling Hii, Sarawak director Khirudin Drahman, and Labuan director Zainal Madasin.

by Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Dec 1: The Volunteer Fire and Rescue Force (PBS) is now directly under the wing of the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Malaysia, following the amendment of the Fire Services Act 1988 (Amendment 2018).

Previously, PBS was registered under Registrar of Societies (ROS).

Bomba director-general Datuk Hamdan Wahid said with such amendment and implementation, they can now take over PBS by regulating and streamlining standard operating procedures, operations, administrative matters and so on.

To date, there are 394 PBS teams with 14,793 members nationwide, including 47 teams from Sarawak with 2,147 members.

“The primary role of PBS is to perform firefighting operations within their community or areas. In case of fire emergencies, these volunteers will be the first to respond in order to control or extinguish the fire. They are also the link between Bomba and their local communities as they have been entrusted by the department with spreading awareness on fire safety and emergencies,” Hamdan said at the PBS Convention (Borneo zone) closing ceremony here today.

These teams will receive regular training by fire station personnel from respective zones.

Volunteer Fire and Rescue Force (PBS) teams from Sarawak and Labuan at the Borneo Zone 2019 convention in Kuching.

This year, Bomba attended to 113,710 emergency cases, where PBS teams were deployed to 8,523 cases.

“Sarawak itself recorded 6,477 emergency cases in which a total of 451 cases were attended to by the Sarawak PBS to assist Bomba in providing services to the community,” Hamdan said, adding that it indicates the percentage of PBS involvement in emergency cases is very high.

However, PBS’ scope of work is not limited to firefighting alone.

Hamdan asserted that it also covers aspects of public awareness, inspections and community services.

According to the department’s survey, they need at least 600 fire stations nationwide. The current number of fire stations numbering over 300 are not sufficient.

At the same time, due to Sarawak’s vast geography, it is not economical to build a fire station at every single corner while many rural villages are far away from the nearest stations.

“Therefore, we appoint (PBS members from among) the local communities who know the areas well, such as its environment, habitat, risk and type of disaster that always occur. Their role clearly helps the department not only in operations, but also implementation of public awareness campaigns especially in remote villages, and rural and suburban areas. This approach is very effective,” Hamdan added.

Meanwhile, each PBS member is provided with group insurance and also appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as fire helmets, fire jackets, fire gloves and fire boots.

The PPE corresponds to the type of fire and risks involved in incidents attended to by PBS.

This year, the department has provided RM570,000 in assistance to 380 active PBS teams. — DayakDaily