KUCHING: State Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) plans to set up a new station at Batu Kawah near here, but this would take time.
Presently, the nearest station there is the one at Jalan Batu Lintang, says state Bomba public relations officer Tan Min Chai.
“It (Batu Kawah station) is in the planning. The response time should be within 10 minutes given the distance between Batu Lintang Station and Batu Kawah.
“But because Batu Kawah is a new township (and is growing), we need to first identify a piece of land suitable for the facility, and then seek federal allocation for the project,” he said when met at the state Bomba headquarters here yesterday.
According to Tan, Putrajaya has so far approved only two new stations this year in the whole country – one in Selangau and the other in Kelantan.
Asked how much allocation would be required to set up a fire station, he said at least RM5 million would be required for a Category C facility.
Prompted for definition of Category C, he said the current Lundu station ‘is Category C, while the Batu Lintang Station is Category A’.
He also said while waiting for a new station in Batu Kawah, Local Government Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian – who is Batu Kawah assemblyman – had proposed the setup of a ‘volunteer fire station’.
In Sarawak, there were nine volunteer fire stations and 40 teams of volunteer firefighters.
Citing Dalat as an example, Tan said its assemblywoman Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah had granted RM80,000 for the volunteer fire station there.
“The volunteer fire station in Dalat is 90 per cent complete.
There is also a volunteer fire station in Bako, which has been in service for three years.”
Tan said these volunteer fire stations had their own independent building equipped with facilities such as pick-ups, pumps and hoses.
He added that volunteer firefighters were capable of providing basic firefighting and search-and-recovery (SAR) services.
Meanwhile, Bomba director general Datuk Wira Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim acknowledged that Batu Kawah was in need of a fire station, judging from the rising needs there.
“I’m not sure about the distance and time taken to reach there. If within the tolerant time, which is 10 minutes, then it’s still OK. But if more than 10 minutes, then we will need to have a new station there.”
Wan Mohd Nor added that the government would have to conduct studies and at the same time, identify a suitable land for building the facility.