Royal praise for Fire and Rescue Dept
By Azaraimy HH

The Fire and Rescue Department received royal praise yesterday as a well-deserving agency trusted by the community responsible for rendering assistance and rescue services in various forms of emergencies and disasters.

At the same time, the department was also told on the importance of not being complacent and the need for a more systematic and comprehensive efforts to identify circumstances that can contribute to the occurrence of disasters and implementation of right measures.

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, in his sabda, said, "In reaching the 50th anniversary of its establishment, the Fire and Rescue Department has gone through various forms of challenges and gained considerable experience which have established the maturity of this department, that is, as an agency which undertakes an important role in maintaining the safety and well-being of the citizens and residents in this country.

"The roles and functions of the Fire and Rescue Department have expanded to include not only conventional tasks but have also advanced towards a much wider and challenging scope," HRH added.

"We are readily aware that the community in the country has come to believe in the Fire personnel as the core agency responsible for rendering assistance and rescue services in the event that various forms of emergencies and disasters occur," the Crown Prince said.

HRH also appreciated all ranks in the Fire & Rescue Department and other related agencies for their dedication and contributions.

"Lately, the world community in general has experienced various phenomena caused by global climate change as well as threats of natural disasters which have affected a number of countries around the world including this region.

"We in this country are most grateful to Allah the Almighty for His grace and His blessings in protecting our community as well as our country from most of these serious natural disasters, though we were also affected by incidents of flooding and landslides last year.

"Although these incidents were not as severe compared to incidents elsewhere, they have tested the level of capability and preparedness of the Fire and Rescue Department as well as related agencies.

"Alhamdulillah, with the commitment, cooperation and full support of all agencies of His Majesty's Government, as well as the active participation of non-government bodies and the community in general, we have been able to overcome these challenges.

"In this regard, I greatly appreciate the efforts of all ranks of the Fire and Rescue, together with other stakeholders, for their dedication and contributions, in safeguarding the well-being and welfare of those in our community who are in need of assistance particularly in saving lives and property," said the Crown Prince.

His Royal Highness also urged for more systematic and comprehensive efforts from related agencies to identify and implement appropriate measures against circumstances that can lead to the occurrence of disasters.

"We should not be complacent and readily content with what has been achieved and implemented. Collaborative efforts which are more systematic and comprehensive must be enhanced in order to further strengthen capability and efficacy in not just overcoming any disaster risks but just as importantly, is the identification and implementation of appropriate measures with regards to circumstances which can contribute to the occurrence of disasters.

"Towards this goal, the Fire and Rescue Department needs to further raise its level of preparedness by strengthening its capacity to deliver its services through a comprehensive human resource development strategy that will enable all ranks of their personnel to become more knowledgeable and multi skilled in addition to maintaining a high level of professionalism.

"This includes competency in utilisation of assets, tools and equipment, as well as appropriate high technology info-communication system that will enhance and complement the level of efficiency and effectiveness of the service.

"Action plans and collaborative operational procedures with relevant agencies should be constantly monitored, analysed and coordinated for their effectiveness to ensure the conduct of operations and actions to render assistance are efficient and accomplish their objectives," HRH said.

The Crown Prince also called for the public outreach programmes to be continued.

"Public outreach programmes which have been introduced in this country such as Volunteer Firemen, Fire and Rescue Cadets, and Fire Prevention Campaign Roadshows should continue to be implemented as well as strengthened based on current best practices, particularly in order to nurture awareness and better preparedness amongst the community in overcoming as well as minimising any impact and possibility of disaster."

The Crown Prince said the enforcement of and compliance with safety standards should continue to be improved and monitored constantly, in concurrence with the need for coordinated training with the various relevant agencies to overcome incidents or threats of disaster including those that are non-conventional, to raise the nation's overall level of preparedness.

In the context of regional and international cooperation, as well as relations, HRH said the Fire and Rescue Department should equip as well as elevate its capacity particularly in aspects of the functions of the National Disaster Management Centre in responding to public emergencies that should be planned based on a worst-case scenario.

"In this regard, the sharing of expertise, skills and training, should be increased based on the current framework of agreements and cooperation," HRH added.

His Royal Highness extended his congratulations and appreciation to all personnel of the Fire and Rescue Department, including those who have retired, for their services and contributions. - Borneo Bulletin (10th March 2010)