Fire Awareness 'still low'

THE STAR, April 5

Fire safety awareness among owners of shopping complexes, offices and educational institutions has not improved, National Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) chairman Datuk Lee Lam Thye said.

The Federal Territory Fire and Rescue Department issued 467 notices last year, of which 329 were to shopping complexes and 265 to hotels.

Lee said the department also issued 100 notices to educational institutions and 163 to factories.

He said most of the notices were for failing to provide adequate emergency exits, lights and fire hose reels.

"This clearly show that the level of awareness is still low in the business community.

"They are still not adhering to the safety regulations," Lee said after launching the Zero Fire campaign and the Malaysian Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association (MVFRA) at The Summit, USJ on Sunday.

Lee said last year there were 840 fires in Kuala Lumpur.

"The total loss due to fires was about RM27.6mil," he said.

Lee said the only way to combat fires was awareness programmes.

The anus lies on the heads of departments to ensure their staff are trained in fire prevention.

"Teachers as well as parents must ensure that children are aware of the danger of fire," he said.

Lee said it would be more effective if the various government departments non-government organizations and insurance companies co-operate to make the program a success.

Zero Fire is a five-year campaign aimed at educating the public on awareness and safety.

Also present at teh launch were MVFRA chairman K. Balasupramaniam, ACE Synergy Insurance Berhad chief executive officer Cliff Lee Koon Yew and PB Malaysia Sdn Bhd chairman Muhammad Imran Baharuddin.

Balasupramanaim said the main objective of the project was to reach out to people and teach them the basics of fire prevention.

"One of our ideas is to introduce smoke detectors in every household by the end of the project.

"We will be talking to a few companies to make the price of these items more affordable so everyone can install them in their homes," he said.

Balasupramaniam said the other objective was to impress on the public how dangerous grills were as most victims were found to have been trapped in their premises.


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