By Nancy Nais
THEY could not break fast (‘berbuka puasa’) in the comfort of their homes with their families.
Instead, they sacrificed such solace by eating at any place they literally happened to be at the time.
They also could not say their prayers in a comfortable environment. Instead, they prayed to the Almighty to help them put up with the scorching heat and ease their task to fight the fires behind them.
But despite all the discomfort, this bunch of ‘unsung heroes’ will never complain or swear when the siren in their station rings.
Although this is the holy month of Ramadhan, members of the state Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) have no reason to say no because self-sacrifice is a firefighter’s oath.
They believe in service before self.
It speaks volumes about their personal beliefs, decision-making and commitment to a specific cause.
In some cases, they are attached to a tragic event or an individual as a matter of reverence, but in every case, they represent the highest level of commitment that an organisation can ask of an individual or team.
The moment they chose to become firefighters, they vowed to keep the community and environment safe and comfortable.
They agreed to protect the community in the most effective and efficient manner possible and when necessary, take calculated risks to save lives and protect properties.
Pictures of firefighters who recently fought forest fires in Miri and at other parts in the northern region show thousands of difficulties that these men in red face every day.
Regardless of whether they are fasting or not, rain or shine, they have no reason to say no because each and every one of them knew they have to respond to every emergency.
Exhausted, our firefighters will rest on the grass or anywhere deemed safe with their equipment by their side.
Sometimes, these firefighters are deployed away from their respective city limits, meaning they are deployed to another environment where their personal health and safety cannot be guaranteed.
They are often deployed into the deepest of voids in a quest to save men, women and children whom they have never met nor had any personal responsibility to protect.
That is why they have put service before self.
Let us all empathize with what our firefighters are going through to protect every one of us, and let us work together with them by minimising the occurrence of fire or prevent it altogether.
They have never asked for much, just prayers for their well being and a simple ‘Thank you, Abang Bomba’.
To each and every one of you who have put service before self, I say thank you.
You have proven that despite the toughest of challenges, foreign or domestic, emergent or non-emergent, our nation’s firefighters stand ready to serve.
God bless our firefighters and their fighting spirit.
‘Selamat Hari Bomba’ 2019 to our firefighters!
Editor’s note: Hari Bomba Sedunia 2019 (International Firefighters’ Day 2019) was celebrated on May 4 this year.