KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) director-general Datuk Nor Hisham Mohammad announced that a special task force will be set up to inspect all buildings to test the effectiveness of their safety equipment in the event of emergencies.

“Some structures in the capital were constructed before the implementation of the Uniform Building By-laws 1984, resulting in the installation of equipment that differs from the specified requirements.

“For example, the Seri Sabah Flats should be installed with wet risers that automatically supply water from the tank. But the flat was installed with a dry riser that requires the fire department to pump water from the ground level” he explained.

Nor Hisham was speaking as a guest on Bernama Radio’s ‘Exclusive Interview with JBPM ‘ segment broadcast today.

“In this context, the pipe burst and did not reach the 17th floor. This is why we are seeking to create a collective test for effectiveness,“ he added.

He said if buildings do not meet the set criteria then enforcement can be imposed to require them to upgrade existing systems.

“The inspection will be carried out comprehensively. To inspect buildings and public housing nationwide, especially built before 1984,“ he said.

Nor Hisham said JBPM will inspect more than 14,000 premises including homestays and shopping centres across the country to ensure the highest level of safety.

He cautioned that compounds would also be imposed on anyone found blocking or parking at fire hydrants or riser areas.

He then emphasised that concerns related to damaged fire safety equipment, such as fire hydrants, are a shared responsibility between building owners and management, rather than being the sole responsibility of the fire department.

“We cannot go (on an inspection) every year. The important thing is, when there is a system, we must have maintenance. We encourage self-maintenance to ensure the system remains in good condition,“ he said.

He said residents can urge the building management to carry out maintenance, adding that so far more than 100 complaints have been received about management not doing its job.–Bernama