Saving victims who are trying to take their own lives can be challenging and tricky at the best of times, which is why the Penang Fire and Rescue Department has a specialised team to handle such cases on the Penang Bridge and Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge.
According to the state director of the Fire and Rescue Department, Saadon Mokhtar, the team consists of a diving team and counselling experts who’ve received training at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) to handle individuals who’ve lost their will to live.
This team was established after taking into consideration the frequency of suicide attempts on the bridges, as reported by Harian Metro.
“Most of them (firemen) are experienced personnel who’ve taken courses regarding counselling. In fact, there are scripts provided for the personnel to handle each of these cases.
“Those who want to commit suicide have their own personal reason, which is why the firemen must be smart to choose the approach when handling the situation. There were a few cases where the victims wouldn’t talk to the public, but when they were approached by the firemen, they opened up to the personnel,” Saadon said.
The director added that many parties perceive their job as easy when in reality it’s not. That’s because they have to use the appropriate methods to approach the victims and try to manipulate their emotions. Also, rescuing the victims is not as easy as grabbing them off the ledge. “Catching them is the last resort after we’ve failed to persuade the victims,” he said.
Last year (2018), there were 15 cases suicide attempts on the bridges, and 13 of the victims were men while the rest were women.
Firemen put their lives on the line in order to rescue others, and we salute them for that! Thank you, abang bomba.
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