Fire safety tips for a trouble-free Raya, Gawai celebrations

Khirudin Drahman

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, May 8: The Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan has begun, which means Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Gawai Dayak are fast approaching.

While many must be very eager to celebrate, festive seasons can also mean ‘disaster’ as it is also the time where the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) deals with many fire and accident cases.

The 3L syndrome of ‘Lupa, Leka dan Lalai’, which refers to the forgetful, careless and complacent attitudes of the public, is among the major contributors to fires, especially during festive periods.

According to the department’s statistics, there were 93 cases of home fires (10 from human negligence in the kitchen) from January to April this year, while 86 cases (12 from kitchens) were recorded during the same period last year.

Sarawak Bomba director Khirudin Drahman reminded the public to be extra vigilant during this time as people tended to get excited and make silly mistakes that lead to big disasters.

“I blame the 3L syndrome as the ‘culprit’ of many incidents. The public must be aware of the need to prevent tragedies, which cause loss of lives and damage to properties. Firefighting is a losing battle. The best way to fight fire is to prevent it from happening,” he said, adding that fire prevention is a joint responsibility and not just that of the fire department.

He also warned the public not to be complacent and think they are free from risks of fire.

“It is rather typical for Malaysians to have a general lackadaisical attitude towards matters such as fire safety. Most cases of home fires happened because of small but hazardous mistakes,” Khirudin lamented.

Most people do not fancy doing housework, at home or at work, but it is a crucial part of fire and accident prevention.

“Practice good housekeeping and maintenance. Replace old or faulty wiring and electrical appliances. Get qualified electricians for this job rather than being sorry when disaster happens. Maintain machinery to prevent overheating and friction sparks, especially those containing flammable liquid vapours or fine particles. Remove unnecessary ‘fuel’ from surrounding areas as this can lead to a big fire,” he advised.

Good housekeeping can minimise the risk of fire, fire from spreading and it will not hinder safe evacuation as it will not obstruct access to firefighting equipment or alarm call points.

“Put extra caution on any unfamiliar smell as early detection in emergencies can save you and your loved ones. On top of that, every household should have at least one fire extinguisher,” Khirudin suggests.

For the benefit of the community, through their continuous proactive fire awareness and safety campaign, the department hoped that there would be a reduction in the number of fires in Sarawak this year. — DayakDaily