KOTA KINABALU: More than RM1 billion worth of properties were saved by the Sabah Fire and Rescue Services Department last year.
Its director Khirudin Drahman said this was a positive sign compared to the previous year when only about RM138 million worth of properties were saved.
“This is due to better response time and increase of fire and rescue service personnel in Sabah,” he said at a press conference at the headquarters in Jalan Lintas here yesterday.
But total property loss to fires had increased from RM27.7 million in 2008 to RM76.4 million in 2009 , he said, adding the figure was out of 1,071 fires recorded in 2009.
Meanwhile, Khirudin said 13 people were killed in fires throughout 2009 while 16 perished the year before.
“Most of the victims were disabled and children from rural areas.
“Therefore, our department will conduct more fire and safety awareness campaigns in rural areas by going down to the field as often as possible,” he added.
Khirudin also said the department had received 31 hoax calls in 2009 compared to 25 the previous year.
“This is a serious matter that needs to be rectified,” he said, adding the department would identify the callers through the latest technology.
“Such calls were normally made by fire victims in villages and squatter areas who were not satisfied with our services and who claimed that our personnel were not doing a proper job in putting out the fire.
“They would make a couple of hoax calls the very next day to the department just to get even,” he said.
Meanwhile, Khairudin thanked volunteer firefighters for helping the department in combating fires throughout the year.
“They had carried out a good job and our objective for this year (2010) is to provide more facilities to them such as uniform, equipment and training to make their job easier,” he said.