Fire safety advocacy in rural areas as S’wak records 8 longhouse fires this year

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah (centre) with Khirudin (right) and deputy director Tiong Ling Hii giving thumbs up at the Fire Safety Campaign in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidilfitri held at State Bomba Headquarters in Jalan Setia Raja, Kuching.

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, May 10: More needs to be done in educating longhouse residents on fire safety after eight longhouse fires were recorded in Sarawak this year.

State Fire and Rescue (Bomba) director Khirudin Drahman said they are proactively conducting advocacy and engagement programmes with the longhouse residents so that they could better manage fire safety in their respective longhouses and maintain the losses below 50 per cent.

“From 2015 to last year, the State recorded a total of 124 longhouse fires. Most of the cases occurred in the central zones such as Sibu and Sri Aman where the longhouses were located more than 150km from the nearest fire stations.

“From the analysis conducted by the State Bomba on the 124 cases reported, we concluded that there was a possibility that the longhouses can still be saved if the residents had taken action at the earlier stage.

“For instance, the residents should be trained to adopt the 5E concept of Education, Engineering, Emergency Response Team, Enforcement and Economic Incentive, in order for them to provide early response to the fire and subsequently prevent it from spreading,” he said when speaking at a press conference of the Fire Safety Campaign in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidilfitri held at State Bomba Headquarters in Jalan Setia Raja here today.

He mentioned that he had also attended a webinar organised by Centre For Borneo Regionalism And Conservation (BORC) last Saturday (May 8) which deliberated on growing concerns of longhouse fires in remote areas in Sarawak.

“One of the academicians from University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS) during the webinar had expressed his intention to conduct a research to analyse these fire incidences,” he added.

Touching on the Fire Safety Campaign, Khirudin explained that it was necessary to act as a reminder and advocate members of the public to better manage fire safety so that unwanted incidents can be prevented.

“However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the State Bomba took the approach to hold the campaign virtually through video message uploaded on social media channels, as well as pamphlets and posters.

“Despite the difference in medium compared to previous years, the intention is still the same which is to provide advocacy on fire safety to the community at large,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily