Two new longhouses in Baram built with firewall between units

Uggah (left) listening to Khirudin on approaches to reduce longhouse fires at the launch of the fire safety campaign in conjunction with Gawai Dayak held at the Sarawak Bomba headquarters here today (May 30, 2022).

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, May 30: Two new longhouses in Baram have been constructed with the additional feature of a firewall partition between each door.

This was disclosed by Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department director Datuk Khirudin Drahman during a press conference after launching a fire safety campaign in conjunction with Gawai Dayak held at the Sarawak Bomba headquarters here today.

Citing the Sarawak Building Ordinance 1994, he said erecting firewalls does not apply to longhouses which are classified as private property, unlike terrace houses.

However, due to frequent longhouse fires, Bomba Sarawak has been trying to instil such awareness among longhouse folk.

“The new longhouses have such a feature because we are working with Unimas (Universiti Sarawak Malaysia) to develop the design,” said Khairuddin.

He said the government could not impose it on all longhouses as it is not a requirement under the Sarawak Building Ordinance, but for longhouses obtaining loans from Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and those receiving RM70,000 compassionate aid after a fire, the erecting of a firewall between doors in a longhouse is a requirement.

“At Baram, a few new longhouses comply (with the requirement). There is a partition between each longhouse unit,” said Khirudin.

Meanwhile, Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who was present as guest of honour officiating at the event, said the Sarawak government needs the input of Bomba on how to best help the people when fires are concerned.

However, he pointed out that the new requirement of erecting a firewall between units in longhouses can only apply to new longhouses.

“Whatever approach, we want Bomba to tell us the best approach for longhouses. But that is for new longhouses. For old longhouses, you cannot ask them to dismantle the whole longhouse (to erect a firewall).

“For new longhouses, we hope Bomba can help us (to come out with) the best approaches so that if there is a fire incident in the place, it will not affect everyone,” said Uggah. — DayakDaily