Thursday, 18 July 2013

‘Have fire extinguisher in every premises’

FIRE HYDRANT CHECKING: Nor Hisham (fourth right) and others including the association chairman Swim Swee Yong (third right) and a shop owner Vincent Moh (right) try their hands on turning on a fire hydrant.

69 of the fires recorded in Sarawak last year brought under control by the simple gadget — State Fire and Rescue Department chief

KUCHING: Every premises should have at least one fire extinguisher as records show that some fires could be brought under control by the simple gadget.

The advice came from the director of the state Fire and Rescue Department, Nor Hisham Mohammad yesterday.

He said a fire extinguisher could help to prevent fire from spreading and can even extinguish the flame altogether.

Sixty-nine of the fire cases recorded throughout the state last year were brought under control by the simple fire extinguishers. This year, (until June) 40 cases of fire were also brought under control by fire extinguishers, he said.

“The device may look simple but it can help bring a fire under control and can even stop the fire entirely when the flame is still small. A fire extinguisher can cover an area of 15 square metres.”

He told reporters this after attending ‘Enforcement Programme on Fire Services Act 1988 for Heritage Area Buildings 2013’, a programme jointly organised by the (Fire) department, Old Market Community Association and Sesco at Carpenter Street here yesterday.

NEW FIRE EXTINGUISHER: Nor Hisham hands over the new version of fire extinguisher to a shop owner.

There are 608 shophouses in the heritage area of Kuching city, and as of today, 134 of them have been checked of their fire safety measures.

Nor Hisham said one of those things they have found out during the inspection was that many of these premises still had the older version fire extinguishers (blue). Though listed as ‘Malaysian Standard (MS) 1539’ product, the extinguishers are no more in production and they have their expiry date next year.

“The MS1539 fire extinguishers officially came about in 2004 for the Malaysian market and have a shelf life of up to 10 years. After that, the fire extinguishers have to be sent back to the factory for a recharge.

“This means that this particular last batch would expire next year and by 2015 all fire extinguishers should be red-coloured,” he said.

He also said they were now checking the status of fire extinguishers in shophouses and those operators found not to have yet obtained the new version would be given ample time to change to new ones. Failing that they would be brought to the court to be charged under Section 2 of the Akta Perkhidmatan Bomba, which carries a fine up to RM5,000, or three years’ jail or with both on conviction.

On another matter, he said Sarawak had 320 members including five from historical premises in the ‘Teman Pili Bomba’ (Fire Hydrant Partners) programme. Its main focus was to protect fire hydrants from vandalism.

In Kuching City alone, there are 327 of such items (fire hydrants).

He said that based on Sesco’s record, nine fire cases have happened at historical area, four of which were caused by electricity failure due to connection fault, long usage of electricity and others, and three were caused by faulty wiring system.

He, therefore, advised premises owners to only use qualified contractors to check their premises to make sure there was no electricity leakage, and if any, to change the wiring system.

Its senior engineering assistant, Gilbert Lai, said people should check their wiring system every 10 years, as required under the practice system.

“The people can call us at 1300 88 3111 for checking service. Our system covers only the meters, all others belong to the clients so we can only check their internal wiring upon requests,” he said.- theborneopost

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