Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Expert explains changes needed



Expert explains changes needed

Expert explains changes needed

H undreds of homes could have been saved and the fire at Deum Chahn brought under

control in 30 minutes if the city's fire brigade had up-to-date equipment, a

leading Australian fire expert has said.

Frederick Longman, a rescue and

fire fighting consultant for 30 years, said the city's fire brigade needed a

complete overhaul.

"A survey of the fire department should be done to

assess how many trucks and firemen are needed and what they would cost," he

said.

"Fire fighting is a very expensive insurance program. The first

thing that has to be done here is to take the fire service away from under the

Police Department's jurisdiction.

"Aid should be sought from

organizations such as Overseas Development Association to build up the

service."

Longman, who has been setting up fire precautions at Pochentong

airport, said small fire stations should be built in every community and used

for rapid intervention in an emergency.

"Larger trucks from main fire

stations would be used as backup. This would provide the basis of a national

fire service."

He said it was unlikely an adequate hydrant system would

be installed in Phnom Penh in the next five years.

"As a consultant, I

would be prepared to conduct a survey and to give free advice to the government

on setting up a basic three-month training course for staff, to be taught in

English and Khmer."

In January 1993, Longman visited the police

department, which is responsible for fire fighting, to offer his

assistance.

During discussions with the Fire Commissioner Major Ei Kret

he noted that of 10 fire vehicles providing cover for Phnom Penh, only four were

operational but could only respond if sufficient fuel was available.

In

a report prepared for the Department of Civil Aviation in 1993, he said the City

Fire Department's training facilities were "extremely limited".

"Hospital emergency facilities are limited and little or no

infrastructure exists to handle the number of casualties likely to require

emergency treatment."

He pointed out that most of the city's modern

hotels did not have proper fire-fighting equipment or fire escapes.

While

new vehicles are needed urgently, Longman said other equipment including

protective clothing and "proximity" suits which allow fire fighters to get close

to the blaze, were also required. Currently, firemen wear only trousers and

flip-flops.

One witness at the Deum Chahn fire told how bowls of water

had to be thrown over the firemen to keep them cool.

Longman also

suggested the country establish a list of minimum safety requirements based on

guidelines set out by the National Fire Protection Association of America, which

gives worldwide standards.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and