By Nancy Nais
SRI AMAN, Dec 21: In the beginning, a group of 17 students, aged between seven and 12 years old from Datuk Ajibah Abol Children’s Home were shy and quiet when they arrived at Sri Aman fire station, yesterday.
However, their faces later reflected what they must be feeling inside – shocked but in awe when they were told that they can wear the actual fire suit, breathing apparatus and handle water hoses to feel what it’s like as a firefighter.
As they were taken outside to the open bay and briefed by their “heroes in red”, the older students didn’t waste any time, putting on the suit and breathing apparatus (totalling about 20kg), as they walked around, and climbing the fire truck before they were joined by the younger children spraying water towards the open area.
All of their eyes were gleaming as they get hold of a fire hose for the first time and when the water gushed out, all their faces were filled with amazement.
The opportunity was part of a pre-Christmas celebration and fire safety awareness programme jointly organised by Sri Aman Fire and Rescue and Commonwealth Journalist Association (CJA) Sarawak for the children.
Firefighters also pitched in for the event, creating fun and hands-on activities for the children.
Sarawak Fire and Rescue director Khirudin Drahman, who was at the event, said visiting a fire station can be a thrilling adventure, especially for children as it is also an opportunity of a lifetime.
“A great trip to the fire station is a wonderful experience. 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, enter a fire truck, sit and eat with their heroes and later play with water outside the compound,” Khirudin said.
This is one of the department’s effort to reach out, foster better relationships, create the feeling of love, sharing strategies and to get closer to different communities through festive season, he added.
“Apart from letting these children have fun in the fire station, we have a special tailored programme called Children Club (Kelab 3K), which teaches good and bad fire.
“We also emphasise and educate on ‘lupa, lalai dan leka’ (forgetful, careless and negligent) because I strongly believe that one of the best ways to reduce fire outbreaks is by educating the younger generation,” Khirudin said.
The modules were created in fun and exciting manner as this is the only way to approach small children and expose them to fire awareness in a relaxed and easy-to-understand manner.
He strongly believed that when the children were exposed to or participate in such learning method, they will remember because it is enjoyable.
Khirudin also shared the success story of a 13-year-old teenager Alexidi Wifred who saved his longhouse from total destruction in Kanowit on Dec 16, and this has made the department more determine to focus on educating young children on the importance of fire prevention.
“It shows that our community programme is slowly making an impact especially in the suburban and rural communities. Although our core business is fire and rescue, we will continue to give space to teach children,” he said.
Among those present were Datuk Ajibah Abol Children’s Home principal Sharifah Mordiah Syed Ali, Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) Sri Aman chief Noraini Ibrahim, Sri Aman Fire and Rescue chief Nik Muhd Afiq Nik Roslan and fire station chief William Baheng. — DayakDaily