Archive for the ‘Emergency Response’ Category

Fire drill at varsity

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

It was a hive of activity at Wawasan Open University’s (WOU) main campus on Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah in Penang recently as some 150 students, teachers and workers took part in a fire evacuation exercise.

The tranquility of the morning was rudely interrupted by the shrill fire alarm, alerting the campus community to rush to the nearest emergency exit staircase.

Then 15 firemen in three fire-engines “put out” the fire.

The police and Malaysian Red Crescent Society also rendered help to the firemen from the Perak Road, Bagan Jermal and Beach Street fire stations.

The fire drill was the culmination of the week-long inaugural WOU Safety Week, launched by its vice-chancellor Tan Sri Emeritus Prof D. Gajaraj on May 14.

WOU has also formed its own Emergency Response Team (ERT) and First Aid Team to cater to any crisis which might arise within the campus grounds.

Fire drill too real for seven

Monday, March 30th, 2009

An annual fire drill at Komtar in Penang saw almost 2,700 employees from various government departments rushing down from as high as Level 58 of the building on foot.

State assistant medical officer Dr Saiful Azlan Sharif said there were seven real casualties out of over 30 mock injury cases in the drill. “Most of them fainted out of panic. They were sent to the Penang Hospital to receive medical attention,” he said.

Among those who walked downstairs and had to wait under the morning sun during the drill on Friday which lasted more than an hour were state executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow and the Chief Minister’s chief of staff Jeff Ooi.

Chow said he was on his way up to his office at Level 52 when he bumped into Ooi and decided to accompany him for breakfast at Level Two. “If I had not bumped into him, I would already be in my office and would have to take a long 15 to 20-minute walk down the stairs with my staff,” Chow said.

Another employee at Komtar, Nioh Chu Chai, who is Penang Tourism Development, Culture, Arts and Heritage Committee chairman Danny Law’s special assistant, was not so lucky as he had to walk down 53 storeys. “It was tiring but quite exciting as it was my first drill here. Most of the staff did not panic when they heard the alarm and left their offices in an orderly manner,” said Nioh. “Some of them even helped to inform their colleagues and made sure nobody was left behind,” he said when approached at a carpark near Komtar.

The drill, called Ops Ex Duga, started at 8.45am. The fire and rescue department was informed of the ‘fire’ at 8.53am and the first to respond was the Lebuh Pantai fire station followed by firemen from the Bayan Baru, Jalan Perak and Bagan Jermal stations.

The department’s deputy director Mohd Razam Taja Rahim said eight fire trucks and 10 utility vehicles with 32 personnel were deployed for the drill. “We also co-operated with the police, the Penang Hospital, St John’s Ambulance and the Malaysian Red Crescent Society.

“In actual fires, we would involve the voluntary fire fighting units as well,” he told a press conference after the drill concluded at 10.25am.

He said the Komtar building was completely vacated at 9.30am with the fire, which was staged on Level 45, being brought under control at 9.26am and put out at 10.10am.

Deputy state secretary Mohammad Yusoff Wazir said a post-mortem would be conducted to identify response weaknesses among employees at Komtar during emergencies.

State Health, Welfare, Caring and Environ-ment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the drill was carried out under Arahan 20, a command structure indicating the responsibilities of various government departments in crises. “The command chain must be clear. The post-mortem will reveal response weaknesses and show us what has to be rectified,” he said.

Youths urged to join disaster response team

Monday, July 28th, 2008

THE Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) Penang branch wants to rope in more youths to be part of its regional disaster response team to assist relief operations.

Branch chairman Saw Ewe Yong said they could become members of the Voluntary Aid Detachment. “We provide free training. We hope youths will join the team so that they can provide help to the needy,” he said at the MRCS awards presentation ceremony at its headquarters yesterday. Currently, there are fewer than 100 active adult members in the state, he said.

A total of 115 members received their awards, which included the honorary life membership award, Distinguished Service Medal, excellent service medal and meritorious service medal.  The highlight of the ceremony was a special award presentation to Renesas Semiconductor (M) Sdn Bhd managing director Setsuo Ogura, who was also the branch’s fundraising dinner organising chairman for the past 15 years.

Ogura said the company was “passionate” about humanitarian and relief work. He said the company had contributed more than RM1mil to the branch in recent years.

The branch has about 8,000 members. It has 93 units in secondary schools and 91 units in primary schools. It has seven well-equipped ambulances to provide emergency aid.

About 250 members attended the ceremony that was held in conjunction with the World Red Crescent Day celebrations.

Need for disaster plan

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

PENANG needs an emergency contingency plan.

State Health, Welfare and Caring Society Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said it was crucial to establish a response team that could quickly decide what to do when emergencies happened.

“Previously, disaster management committees were only formed after the disasters had happened.

“We need people skilled in areas like first aid, rescue operations and logistics.

“Although I have not presented the proposal for the emergency contingency plan to the state executive council, I have spoken about it with the Chief Minister. He is also concerned,” he said.

Phee was speaking at a press conference recently after closing the 12th Regional Disaster Management Committee Meeting organised by the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) on behalf of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

MRCS secretary-general Major General (Rtd) Datuk Megat Mohd Yusof Megat Mahmud said they provided training to workers and students as part of its ‘A First Aider in Every Home’ initiative, which was organised in collaboration with the Education Ministry and the Youth and Sports Ministry.

“We started in 1994 but re-launched the programme a few years ago. We hope to train five million first aiders in the country by 2010,” he said.

Mass cooking for the community

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Cooking for the masses is no easy task, especially during times of disaster. Food has to be prepared quickly, hygienically and be good enough to feed the crowds at disaster relief centres.

With teamwork and proper co-ordination, cooking for about 500 people can be accomplished in just two hours. Malaysian Red Crescent Society Penang branch sub-committee chairman of disaster response Peh Cheah Lun said members were trained to cook for large crowds during disasters, adding that mass cookout required the use of the right cooking utensils.

A mass cooking session was held yesterday at the Kota Permai voluntary fire fighting squad centre, Bukit Mertajam. Participants included 200 members of the Padang Lalang constituency disaster relief team and 120 voluntary firemen from Juru, Machang Bubok, Sungai Rampai and Kota Permai.

“Rice is cooked via steaming in a Clinton cooker. After the rice is washed, it is placed on several trays which are then stacked on top of each other in the cooker,” said Peh, adding that the rice would be cooked in 45min. One cooker, which resembles a traditional steamer, can steam rice to feed up to 250 people. During the exercise, volunteers used 30 chickens, 20kg of onions and a gunnysack of potatoes to prepare chicken curry. They also boiled 400 eggs in 15min and used 96 cans of sardines as one of the main dishes. They also stir-fried 50 bunches of cabbage. The total cost of the cooking exercise was RM500.

“All the food cooked today are enough for 500 people,” said Padang Lalang assemblyman Tan Teik Cheng who was present to supervise the exercise. He added that it was important to train volunteers and be ready for disasters. “Since floods always hit my constituency, the disaster team here needs to learn how to handle such situations. With an orderly and good system in place, the team would avert chaos. They would know how to handle the situation,” he said.

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