Unpredictable weather: Be on the alert, public told

James Kon

The Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) yesterday issued an advisory, urging the public to remain alert during the holiday season where unpredictable weather might be experienced.

“Brunei Darussalam entered the Northeast Monsoon in early December 2020, which is expected to continue until the end of March 2021. The first two months of the Northeast Monsoon (December and January), also known as the monsoon season, normally has a significant rainfall compared with other months,” said the FRD statement.

“During this period, weather conditions are unpredictable, with heavy rain and thunderstorms frequently occurring at night and in the early morning.”

Members of the public, road users and seafarers are reminded to be informed on the latest weather alerts and advisories issued by the Brunei Darussalam Meteorological Department (BDMD), so that they can take early measures to avoid any untoward incidents.

The public should also pay attention to the risks of flooding or flash floods, especially in low-lying areas. The risk of landslides have also increased, especially during long spells of heavy rain of more than two hours.

Flooding can increase when high-intensity rain with high tide occurs. Turbulent sea conditions and strong winds are especially dangerous for small vessels, and for all recreational activities and water sports.

Hikers are reminded not to venture too deep into the hilly terrain if the weather or surroundings have turned dark, or in rainy conditions. They should also avoid going alone, and inform family members or friends of their whereabouts.

Hikers are encouraged to bring along a whistle, torch, mobile phone and adequate water.

According to statistics from January up to December 22 this year, the FRD responded to three calls for the search and rescue of lost individuals, three cases of individuals requiring assistance, and another three cases involving the search and rescue of individuals who went missing.

Last year, there were two calls for the search and rescue of lost individuals, four cases of individuals who needed assistance, and seven search and rescue operations for individuals who went missing.

During beach and water activities, swimmers should not venture too far from the shore or beyond their limitations. Children should be closely supervised when swimming or playing on the beach. Lifejackets should be worn when carrying out water sports such as jet-skiing and surfing.

In the event of a drowning incident, call for help. A person attempting to rescue someone from drowning should be adept at swimming and wear a safety jacket before attempting to rescuing the drowning person. Always be aware of rip currents.

Ferry operators, fishermen and passengers are required to use life jackets. Lights should be installed on boats during the night or during dark weather conditions.

With floods often occurring in low-lying and flood-prone areas and areas close to rivers, the public is advised to monitor the water levels outside their houses. Those living in low-lying and flood-prone areas must prepare by moving important documents and themselves to higher ground.

In the event of an emergency, contact the FRD at 995.