Wed, 12 Mar 2003

Shortage of firemen in Jakarta

JAKARTA: The head of city fire department, Johnny Pangaribuan, said that Jakarta was in need of 2,300 firefighters, as the current figure stood far below the ideal 4,800 personnel.

Johnny said that the fire department had only 2,500 personnel, most of whom were approaching retirement age.

He was quick to add that the department would not be getting new personnel in the immediate future because the city administration had earlier stated that it would not recruit new public servants.

"Of the total personnel, 61 percent are above 45 years and another 25 percent are above 50 years," Johnny said, adding that the ideal age for a firefighter is no more than 45 years.

If the policy of not recruiting new civil servants is maintained, Johnny worried that in 2006 the fire department would be understaffed as around 700 personnel would officially retire by that time.

He, however, called on the city administration to recruit new personnel for the fire department on a contract basis, as it has done for public order officials.-- JP