Article from Selangor Times – Community ambulance soon in Subang

Writer: Brenda Ch’ng
Published: Fri, 04 Jan 2013

SUBANG JAYA: Malaysia’s first community ambulance which will supplement the services provided by hospitals and other non-governmental organisations is being set up here by the Subang Jaya Bomba Emergency Assistance Community or SJ Beacon.

Yeoh (right) handing over the mock cheque to Khairi.
The registered association which was established by residents from Subang, Sunway and USJ last November has so far raised RM40,000 but needs between RM250,000 to RM300,000 to purchase a fully-equipped ambulance.

The group hopes to start providing services to the community in March.

“We need this urgently because there have been numerous incidents in the past where ambulances fail to show up in times of emergency… often taking longer than 30 minutes,” said SJ Beacon vice-president Dr KM Loi.

Dr Loi, who is also a Subang Jaya municipal councillor, pointed out that there are only two public hospitals near Subang, which are the Serdang Hospital and University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC).

But there are not even enough ambulances at the Serdang Hospital to service the Seri Kembangan area, let alone Subang Jaya, Sunway and USJ.

Ambulances from UMMC take too long to come and even when they do respond on time, often face difficulties locating the place.

“There are no hospitals in Shah Alam area as well… so we decided to follow St John Ambulance and have our own community ambulance and partner with them,” he said.

Together with the help of St John, the Subang Jaya Fire and Rescue Department and members of SJ Beacon, this ambulance will be the first community operated one in the country.

Under the plan, a member of Subang’s Fire and Rescue Department would drive the ambulance while volunteers from St John Ambulance will provide medical assistance to those inside.

The services will be provided free of charge in cases of emergencies.

However, residents who need the ambulance to meet their medical appointments, or simply need transport back from the hospital will be charged a nominal fee.

“This fee will be used to maintain the ambulance and to keep the services in operation,” he said.

SJ Beacon is also always on the look-out for competent and passionate volunteers to join them when their ambulance is up and running.

Housed at the Subang Jaya Fire and Rescue Department, those involved will be expected to follow the firemen to fires and to transport victims to hospital.

Apart from medical emergency services, SJ Beacon also has another arm called the Bomba Community, made up of about 35-40 residents to spread awareness on preventing and fighting fires.

An informal group, comprising of four or five residents, which organised community events with the Fire and Rescue Department has evolved into the group which meets and trains regularly.

“We want to reach out to the community and break the ice between them and the fire department as usually it is the only place of authority which people never step into,” said Bomba Community head TH Teoh.

He explained that the Subang Jaya Fire and Rescue Department is the first to have a community bomba unit and this initiative is currently being followed by other fire departments statewide.

Members of the Bomba Community are trained for two hours every Sunday to learn how to use hoses, attach it to fire hydrants and learn to put out fires as well.

This knowledge will then be shared and passed down to other residents in Subang through event and fire fighting programmes organised by the Bomba Community.

The most recent event organised at the Subang Jaya Fire and Rescue Department’s premises was the New Year’s Eve countdown on Monday where hundreds of residents were given a chance to step into the building.

Children were even allowed to run around the place and at the same time be educated on the duties of a fire brigade.

“I hope more of such events will be organised throughout the year as in this urban neighbourhood, it’s not easy for children to run around at a place of authority and to see what a fire department is like on the inside,” said Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh.

She was present at the countdown event and pledged RM10,000 for the community ambulance service.

Yeoh also hoped that the Fire and Rescue Department will also set up a station in USJ.

Also present was Subang Jaya Fire and Rescue Department chief Deputy Supt Mohd Khairi Daud who is committed to assisting SJ Beacon in setting up the community ambulance.

“Our team is very dedicated to serve the community and get involved with the work and projects organised by SJ Beacon,” he said.
 Selangor Times