Fires keep volunteers on their toes

NST, 5 March 2014

ALOR STAR: OVER the last two months, medical instrument technician Lim Wei Coon has helped to fight more than 100 fires, most of them bush fires, in and around the town.

The Seberang Nyonya Volunteer Fire Brigade member said that the fires caused by the dry spell were the worst in his eight years as a volunteer fireman.

“There has been no rain for two months and we do not know how long this will last,” said Lim.

However, Lim and the other 40 members of the Seberang Nyonya Volunteer Fire Brigade will continue to help the Fire and Rescue Department.

Lim said a blaze at his primary school, SRJK Keat Hua, many years ago, inspired him to be a volunteer firefighter.

Lim said he enjoyed the teamwork and camaraderie with his buddies in the fire brigade.

The Sebarang Nyonya Volunteer Fire Brigade has three fire engines, each worth about RM80,000. Zainol Ali, 32, who joined the volunteers six months ago said he was happy to be able to do his bit for society.

“It is a challenging task, especially during the dry weather, but we are up for the challenge and we deem it an honour to the help the Fire and Rescue Department in their duty,” he said.

Lim and his friends were among the 2,160 volunteer firefighters from 48 volunteer fire brigades scattered in the state.

The state Fire and Rescue Department was bombarded with 2,893 cases of fire in the first two months of this year, which is already more than half of the total 5,391 cases reported for the whole of last year.

Kedah Fire and Rescue Department director Ahmad Shahabuddin said 75 per cent of the fires reported this year were bush fires.

The 700 firemen in 16 stations in the state are faced with a daunting task as the number of fires soar.

“We have increased the supply of mineral water for our men and despite this hectic period, I am proud that only a few of them have fallen sick.

“These firefighters had shown their commitment in performing their duty despite the hazards and challenging environment,” he said.

Ahmad said some of his men have suffered minor injuries while putting out fires but there was no serious case.

“We are appealing to the public to refrain from open burning, except for the scheduled burning of haystacks,” he added
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