By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Dec 26: Visiting a fire station can be a thrilling adventure, especially for kids, and for seven-year-old Emma Alice Pang, it was an opportunity of a lifetime.
On Dec 22, she and 35 children aged four to 12 years got to have a feel of real firefighting gear, use water hoses and ride in a fire engine.
The opportunity was part of a pre-Christmas tea party at the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Tabuan Jaya station.
Firefighters pitched in for the event, creating fun and hands-on activities, including fire and safety cartoons featuring the famous animated twin brothers Upin and Ipin.
Pang and the other children were also taught how to crawl when there is fire in a room and how to ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’ if their own clothes catch fire. The room was filled with laughter and giggles, proof that everyone was having fun.
“I am very happy and excited. I learned that we should not play with fire because it is not a good friend,” said Pang.
Apart from meeting their ‘heroes in red’, the children also had the chance to don pint-sized firefighting uniforms, with some help from firefighters. The firefighters then took the children to the open bay, where fire trucks were parked and let the children hold water hoses while playing with water.
Their faces reflect what they must be feeling inside — in shock but in awe, so much so that they started calling the state Bomba director Khirudin Drahman ‘abang’ (brother) when he helped them to wear the uniforms.
In the beginning, these children were shy and clung to each other. But as the party progressed, some of them were seen holding the hands of firemen, their newfound ‘abang Bomba’. The younger ones were even eager to be carried by the firefighters while they chatted and played.
“A great trip to the fire station is a wonderful experience for these little boys and girls. Children, usually get very excited when they learn how important fire prevention and fire safety can be. Not only that, they also get to meet real firefighters or their ‘abang Bomba’ in person, take a ride in fire trucks and sit next to their hero while they ride around the compound,” Khirudin said.
The department is also focusing on educating young children in the state on the importance of the 3L – ‘lupa, lalai, leka (forget, careless, lazy).
Khirudin strongly believed that one of the best ways to reduce fires outbreaks is by educating the younger generation.
“We will use fun and hands-on learning modules. This is the only way to approach small children and expose them to fire awareness in a relaxed and easy-to-understand manner. I believe when these children are exposed to or participate in such learning method, they will remember because it is enjoyable,” he added. — DayakDaily