Volunteer firefighter departments to be formed

2021-11-04 11:54:57

Khmer Times /October 28, 2021

Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday ordered the establishment and management of community volunteer firefighting and fire prevention teams throughout the country.

Kheng said that the main aim of these teams is to control housefires, both in the countryside and the city.  Members will be chosen to volunteer in firefighting teams in villages and communities and on some construction sites. One advantage of these teams is that they will be able to respond quickly to local incidents, before the more centralised main firefighting authorities can attend.

Kheng announced that the volunteer departments would be formed in three different-sized squads, depending on where they were based. Smaller villages would have a squad of 15 men and medium villages would have 30, while larger departments would have 60 volunteer firefighters. Each team would also have trained reserves.

Lieutenant General Neth Vantha, director of the Interior Ministry’s fire police department, told Khmer Times yesterday that these departments were established with the main purpose of reducing fires all across the country. He noted that governors in most provinces are concerned about the increasing number of fires.

“In most areas, people do not know how to respond to fires effectively. These volunteer brigades will teach the people in the villages how to understand different types of fires and how to respond to them effectively. This will reduce the damage done and the danger to the population,” said Lt Gen Vantha.

“In other countries around Cambodia, like Korea or Japan for example, volunteer fire departments have been established already. We have seen the positive impacts that these organisations have had on firefighting statistics in those nations and we believe that Cambodia would benefit from similar programmes,” said Lt Gen Vantha.

He also said the Ministry of Interior is responsible for the budgets for the volunteer departments, from training costs to equipment. The government hopes that the country’s firefighting capacity will be improved and that the cost to the nation from fires will be reduced.