KUCHING, Jan 23: A total of 1,238 registered and unregistered ‘tahfiz’ (Islamic religious) centres throughout the country have been identified by the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba).
This include 27 centres in Sarawak.
State Bomba director Nor Hisham Mohammad said the department has checked all the centres’ safety, and most of them are categorised as unsafe.
Although he was unable to give the exact figure of how many are categorised as unsafe, Nor Hisham, who was reading out Bomba director-general Datuk Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim’s speech today said many premises occupied by the centres concerned failed to comply with fire safety standards such as exit access and adequate staircases, good electrical wiring, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, water supply for firefighting, fire engine entry and cooking space segregation.
Meanwhile, a total of 26 longhouses in the state, involving RM19.3 million in losses were burnt down last year, compared to 20 longhouses (RM15.9 million) in 2016.
The sharp increase of about 30 per cent left 331 families homeless as compared to 273 families previously.
“Longhouse fires can have devastating consequences, and usually affect more than one household. Although the statistics only increased by six, there were many people affected,” said Hisham.
Even though the number of burnt longhouses may sound small, but the number of residents affected could reach thousands, given that one longhouse is home to several families.
Nor Hisham said most longhouse fires were caused by residents leaving the fire in their kitchen unattended (40 per cent) or short circuits (40 per cent). He reminded longhouse occupants to be more careful when they are cooking.
He said it is important that longhouses are equipped with fire extinguishers, citing examples of two cases last year where longhouse residents managed to put out the fire before it spread due to the availability of fire extinguishers provided by Bomba.
“It would be good if we can provide the extinguishers to all the longhouses throughout the state,” he added. — DayakDaily