BUKIT MERTAJAM, Nov 22 — A total of 1,696 Fire and Rescue Department officers and personnel throughout the country were infected by COVID-19 since the pandemic hit the country in March last year, with two recorded deaths.
Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) director Datuk Seri Mohammad Hamdan Wahid said 68 officers and personnel were currently being treated for COVID-19, adding that the two deaths – a senior officer serving in Sabah and another officer of other rank serving in Negeri Sembilan – were due to infections from community and were not work-related.
“Those who were positive were not infected at their own fire stations but were community infections…most of them underwent quarantine at home as they did not have serious symptoms,” he told reporters after a department award presentation ceremony here today.
A total of 105 officers and personnel in Penang were awarded their medals at the event, which was also attended by Penang JBPM director Saadon Mokhtar.
Mohammad Hamdan said 98 per cent of the department’s 14,500 officers and personnel throughout the country have completed their vaccinations and 26 per cent have received their booster shots, adding that the department encouraged booster shots as it offered more protection to firefighters while they performed their duties on the field.
In this regard, he said the department had established a high-rise building rescue squad in Kuala Lumpur to help those attempting suicide following a rise in cases due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The squad is not only equipped with special equipment for high-rise building rescues but have been trained physically and psychologically as they are required to dissuade those attempting to commit suicide,” he added.
On the department’s preparation for floods, he said it is not only focussing on flood hotspots but also looking at areas that have the potential to be flooded during the monsoon season.
Mohammad Hamdan said there are more than 200 flood hotspots in the country and the department is ready if more areas were affected.
“Places like Maran and Kuala Lipis in Pahang as well as Kota Tinggi (Johor) are not flood hotspots but they have been hit several times this year as that is why the Fire and Rescue Department is also looking at such locations,” he added.