Saturday, May 27, 2006

Playground shelters to get tiled roofs

Star: SHAH ALAM: The Subang Jaya Municipal Council will tear down the zinc roofs of gazebos and shelters in playgrounds and parks, and replace them with tiles.
This is to reduce the risk of lightning strikes and offer as much protection as possible to people taking shelter in them.
The council made the decision following the death of school student Hezrill Remmy Ng Muhammad Husaini Ng Abdullah, 14, who was struck by lightning, with three others at USJ 16 on Thursday, while taking cover under a shelter.
The shelter they were in had a zinc roof.
Council president Datuk Mohd Arif Abdul Rahman said the council held an emergency meeting yesterday evening to discuss the issue after The Star highlighted the incident on Thursday.
“We decided that the first step we should take is to replace the zinc roofs as they were conductors of electricity and could attract lightning,” he said, adding that the council's Engineering Department would be carrying out a survey to replace the zinc roofs as soon as possible.
He said council officials were also shocked, as there had never been reports of people being hit by lightning while taking shelter under shelters or gazebos.
He said only gazebos built about five years ago had zinc roofs while the rest had been designed with clay roof tiles so the number was not expected to be too high.
Mohd Arif said the council would also discuss the issue at length during its board meeting next week and look into the possibility of making it mandatory for all future developments in the Subang Jaya area especially to have lightning arresters installed in the parks.
He said the Subang Jaya township was known as a lightning hot spot and the council would be looking at all possible ways to ensure the safety of the people.
Subang Jaya assemblyman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng, who also attended the meeting, said the survey by the MPSJ Engineering Department would also include the number of public parks, hawker centres and bus stops in the municipality as these too would be exposed to the dangers of lightning strikes.
Lee, who is also an MPSJ councillor, said the council was considering installing lightning arresters at all such places and the survey would allow it to estimate how much such an undertaking would cost.

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