Sabah needs at least 40 new stations, says state fire chief

Sabah Fire and Rescue Department director Kamarulzaman Malik Abdullah (left) pinning a badge on a fireman’s uniform during the department’s annual assembly in Kota Kinabalu today.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah needs at least 40 new fire stations to improve the fire department’s response time statewide, said state Fire and Rescue Department director Kamarulzaman Malik Abdullah.

Kamarulzaman said the figure was derived through the state department’s risk assessment.

He added the response time in Sabah was way off the desired national response time of below 10 minutes.

“The average response time of the Sabah fire team from the station to the scene is about 17.5 minutes while the (desired) national key performance index (KPI) is less than 10 minutes.

“This means we have to reduce the average time by 7.5 minutes. Due to geographical factors, we are unable to meet the national response time.

“This (additional fire stations) will enable us to give the best service to the public and reduce our response time for cases reported to us,” he told reporters after the state fire department’s annual assembly here today.

Kamarulzaman, however, noted that building 40 new fire stations was not easy, as it depended solely on funds from the government.

However, he said, Sabah would definitely get a number of new stations for the department to better serve the people.

“For example, two new stations – in Sook and Pitas – are in the final phase of construction and are expected to be completed soon,” he said.

Fire and Rescue Department director-general Mohamad Hamdan Wahid had recently said the federal government had approved RM103 million for rebuilding and upgrading works as well as the construction of six new fire stations in Sabah this year.

He said the stations would be built in Tuaran, Nabawan, Merotai, Lahad Datu, Beaufort and Semporna.