By Nancy Nais
BARAM, July 15: Three villages located deep in the interiors of Baram have been recognised an exemplary models for taking up the challenge to set up their own volunteer firefighter (PBS) teams.
The villages are Long Kevok (Penan), Long Bemang (Kayan) and Long Ikang (Kenyah).
Lauding their commitment to look after their respective villages and assist Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba), state director Khirudin Drahman said the department is counting on this group of PBS especially in remote areas where fire stations are located far away.
He pointed that PBS complements the department by filling the need gap between fire prevention and emergency response.
“The PBS and villagers are vital as the first respondents to handle emergency situations while waiting for firefighters to arrive. When it comes to emergencies such as fire, they can immediately help before the fire spreads out of control.
“Due to the fact that Sarawak is extremely vast and huge, at the same time, most villages are far away from the nearest fire stations, the department cannot respond to emergencies with 10 minutes all the time,” he said after visiting all three villages on July 12.
During the visits, Khirudin presented letters of appreciation to the respective village chiefs.
The department also contributed 20 fire extinguishers for each village to use during emergencies.
“It is important for all of you PBS to have fire safety knowledge, remember your training, and understand the cause of fire, which in most cases is due to human negligence. Always remain vigilant and continue to educate all your fellow villagers to do the same.
“At the end of the day, all of you are the real unsung heroes who can prevent a major tragedy from taking place in your village and you have to be proud of what you are doing,” he told all the PBS and villagers.
Among those present from Bomba Sarawak were assistant director (operations) Tiong Ling Hii, zone 6 fire chief Law Poh Kiong and Marudi fire station chief Maureen Sim.
On July 29, 2019, quick action by PBS Long Ikang saved some 1,000 residents in the 74-door-longhouse from a major fire that would have razed their homes.
A fire incident was also reported in Long Kevok sometime in May last year. — DayakDaily