Take fire preventive measures seriously, longhouse residents told 

Uggah (first row, third left)) with participants at Rh Ambu Liben in Suri Tengah, Debak. 

DEBAK, Dec 28: Longhouse and Village Development and Security Committees (JKKK) must not neglect fire outbreak preventive measures in their list of responsibilities.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said this task was all the more pertinent and important given the many cases of longhouse fires this year.

Closing a community fire fighting course for 110 people from 19 longhouses at Rumah Ambu Liben in Suri Tengah here earlier today, Uggah emphasised that the person entrusted to lead a fire risk group must be able to organise his members at the very instant when a fire breaks out. 

“There is always the tendency for utter confusion then. When people are organised, their first priority is to fight the fire while others will get fellow residents, particularly the elderly and children, to move to safer places.”

Uggah, who is also State Disaster Management Committee chairman, stressed that there was no room for complacency, particularly during any big celebration at the longhouse, because a fire outbreak could be very destructive.

Uggah (third right) presenting a fire extinguisher to a longhouse chief, witnessed by Lawson Chuat  (second right), Friday Belik (right) and Nik Mohd Afiq (third left).

He said with many longhouses far away from the nearest Bomba stations, longhouses folks with some ideas of fire fighting techniques could do their part as the first responding group.

He also assured Bomba and the people that the state government would provide suitable aid in fighting or preventing fire outbreaks.

At the function, Uggah, who was accompanied by Betong MP Datuk Lawson Chuat, presented fire extinguishers to longhouse chiefs of the 19 longhouses. He also presented the ownership document of a vehicle for the Spaoh fire fighting voluntary unit.

In his speech, the leader of the participants, `tuai rumah’ Edmund Gumbang, said it was a matter of grave concern that for this year alone, there had been 27 cases of longhouse fire statewide, causing property losses of about RM50 million and a few casualties.

Gumbang urged the government to upgrade the Betong fire station so that it could have more personnel and better fire fighting equipment.

Others present at the function were Dr Richard Rapu, a political secretary to the Chief Minister, Sri Aman Bomba superintendent Nik Mohd Afiq Nik Roslan and Betong Resident Friday Belik. — DayakDaily