Enlightened community leaders promoting fire safety awareness

Penghulu for Ba’ Kelalan George Sigar Sultan (in yellow) receiving five sets of fire fighting suits from Khirudin in Ba’ Kelalan.

By Nancy Nais

BA’ KELALAN, March 27: Efforts to create ‘real champions’ from the community fire safety and awareness initiative by the Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) is producing positive results.

Several community leaders who recently participated in such an outreach programme in northern Sarawak have been spreading the word among their people that fire prevention is a group effort and achievable.

Like the saying ‘prevention is better than cure’, these leaders were not only eager to learn and but have requested Bomba to hold similar programmes in their respective villages.

A group of state Bomba senior officers and staff recently organised a road trip from Lawas to Ba’ Kelalan, stopping at Long Sukang, Long Luping and Long Semadoh for their outreach programme and fire point with the locals.

One of them, Ba’ Kelalan penghulu George Sigar Sultan was smiling from ear to ear upon seeing the entourage. He is one of the proactive leaders who constantly monitors fire prevention practices in his area.

“The devastation to lives and communities by fire is all the more tragic because most of it is preventable. That is why we take this knowledge from Bomba seriously,” George said.

He also thanked Bomba for distributing five sets of new firefighting uniforms and necessary gears for their volunteer firefighting team.

Sarawak fire chief Khirudin Drahman commended the community leaders for taking the proactive measure in fire safety and awareness.

“The real ‘champions’ in community fire safety and awareness are the community leaders itself, and this is what Bomba has been trying to create. Aggressive and effective fire prevention efforts have been shown to have a great impact on the safety of communities. The key is creating a demand for fire prevention,” he said.

The trained community leaders or village headman will know how to implement preventive measures to reduce the risk of fire and to use the equipment when needed.

The rise in numbers of Bomba komuniti and volunteer firefighters (PBS), especially those in semi-urban and rural areas, mainly come from the department’s continuous outreach programme.

Since the inception of the ‘Longhouse and Fire Point’ campaign in 2015, a total of 1,655 community and outreach events have been held throughout the state to date.

The department has also registered 641 teams of Bomba Komuniti, consisting of 5,773 members.

Khirudin added that the community programme was meant to help the community deliver fire safety messages more effectively.

“It also improves society’s culture in fire safety, prevention practices, exposure and knowledge on how to use basic fire equipment and nurture the spirit of concern within the community,” he said. — DayakDaily