Long Kevok villagers create history as first Penan volunteer fire fighters

The first group of Penans to sign up as volunteer firefighters pose with Law (seated right) and Marudi fire station chief Maureen Sim (seated left).

By Nancy Nais

MIRI, Aug 4: Sarawak Fire and Rescue (Bomba) Department created another history, when a group of villagers from Long Kevok became the first Penans to sign up as volunteer firefighters (PBS).

Located about 280 km (four hours drive) from the nearest fire station, which is in Marudi, Long Kevok is a centre for the Penan community in the Layun area.

There are roughly 1,500 villagers living in six blocks of longhouses consisting a total of 68 doors (bilik). There is also one primary school and one rural clinic in Long Kevok.

Apart from Long Kevok, the PBS will assist to serve the nearby Long Leng, Long Urang, Long Liwok and Long Nan communities.

Miri Bomba chief Law Poh Kiong said the group, headed by Long Kevok village chief Lucas Seman, decided to set up their own volunteer fire fighting squad to protect their village and communities close by.

“These people will learn how they can keep themselves, their families, their homes and nearby villages safe, as they can respond to emergency and crisis that occurs.

“Being a volunteer firefighter is a lot more than just putting out fires. It is an opportunity to learn cutting edge skills that prepare them to help members of their community when they need it most,” Law said.

Since the villages are so far flung from the nearest fire station and PBS are the first respondents, these people will be able to act in the event of fire before the arrival of Bomba, he added.

“They also help in giving advice to local communities on fire hazards and fire prevention measures.” — DayakDaily