SMART simulation site upgrade to be ready in October
PUTRAJAYA - The stimulation site for the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) in Pulau Meranti, near here, is being upgraded with several search and rescue (SAR) training modules, said National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) director-general Datuk Khairul Shahril Idrus.
He said upon completion of the upgrading work, scheduled in October, the simulation site will be equipped with various modules, including featuring a rescue module involving subway operations, cable cars, fully collapsed buildings, partially collapsed buildings, tilted buildings, multiple collapsed buildings and an abseiling tower.
The upgrading work is being carried out under the 12th Malaysia Plan by the Public Works Department (JKR) based on a United Nations-based module at a cost of about RM60 million, he said, adding that it is now 70 per cent completed.
Currently, he said, the site only featured basic simulations such as the method of breaking or cutting collapsed building blocks.
"The site will not only strengthens the expertise of SMART members in various disaster and emergency situations but also maintains their status as a world-class rescue team," he told Bernama.
He said the implementation of the upgrading process at the simulation site will enable the SMART team to maintain recognition by the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), which is a body under the UN that coordinates the international rescue network regarding cross-border disaster operations.
He said with the upgrading work, the simulation centre would be able to provide more comprehensive training and depict real disaster situations.
Khairul Shahril said the future plan for the site is to add other modules from the aspect of rescue operations in disaster incidents such as involving plane crashes.
He said with the improvement of the simulation site, it could also emerge as a SAR training centre for the Asean region as well as internationally.
According to him, several countries including Indonesia, Brunei and Turkiye are also interested in SMART's expertise and have applied to hold joint training.
Meanwhile, Khairul Shahrl said NADMA plans to re-evaluate SMART's strength and its relevance with current developments and disaster situations, besides ensuring that the team is equipped with the latest technological equipment for SAR operations.
SMART, established in 1994, comprises officers and members of three uniformed groups namely the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM).
It now has a strength of about 150 members. - BERNAMA