Special committee reviewing longhouse fire safety guidelines

Edwin (ninth from left) and Khirudin (fifth from right) in a group photo with representatives from government agencies and other organisations.

KUCHING, May 24: The Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) held a special committee meeting at Bomba Sarawak headquarters today to discuss and review fire safety guidelines for longhouses.

The meeting, chaired by Bomba director (Fire Safety) Edwin Galan Teruki, was attended by Bomba Sarawak director Khirudin Drahman as well as representatives from the public and private sectors.

Among the agencies and organisations involved were Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), Housing Development Corporation (HDC), Ministry of Local Government and Housing, Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak (MAIS), Petronas, Sarawak Architects Association and Malaysia Fire Protection Association.

In a media release today, Khirudin informed that the meeting was called following the increasing number of longhouse fires in the state.

“The issue has been raised in the Dewan Negara and local leaders have urged for a review of the fire safety guidelines,” he said.

According to statistics from 2015 to 2019, there were 17 longhouse fire cases recorded in 2015, 20 cases (2016), 26 cases (2017) and 24 cases (2018).

“This year, from January until April, five (5) longhouse fire cases have been recorded involving losses of RM5.5 million and assets rescued worth RM6.2 million,” he added.

Investigations showed that the causes of the fires were due to gas equipment in three cases and one case each due to electrical overload and short circuit.

Among the issues discussed in the meeting were related to longhouse design, building materials used, concept in respecting customs and traditions, and compliance with rules and regulations as well as input from agencies involved.

“Plans on fire safety and prevention in longhouse awareness programme with a focus on old longhouses located in rural and remote areas were also discussed,” he said.

Among the programmes that have been carried out by Bomba to educate both urban and rural communities on fire safety and prevention included Community Emergency Response Team, Summer Camp, Fire Point, Bomba Komuniti, Making A Champion as well as various other outreach activities.

A total of 3,977 longhouses have been registered in each District Offices in the state. — DayakDaily