By Nancy Nais
BAU, Nov 19: Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas wants village JKKK (village development and safety committee), especially those residing in longhouses, to set up a team to learn basic fire, safety and prevention, or trained as volunteer firefighters.
The deputy chief minister said it is important for villages in the interior to have residents with fire safety knowledge and trained to put out fire, as they would be the first respondents to curb spread of fire.
“As Sarawak is extremely vast and huge, at the same time, most villages are far away from the nearest fire stations, villagers themselves are the first respondents to help in immediate firefighting before the fire spreads out of control,” he said.
Uggah, who is also State Disaster Management Committee chairman, hoped to work with all the district offices, elected representatives and state Fire and Rescue (Bomba) on this matter.
“Bomba Sarawak has recorded a total of 15 longhouse fire cases this year, while 2016, 2017 and 2018 recorded more than 20 cases each. These fires have resulted in a loss of property in millions and thousands of people were homeless and misplaced,” Uggah told reporters after officiating the graduation of 77 new firefighters at Fire and Rescue Academy Malaysia (Sarawak).
Uggah lauded Bomba Sarawak for their continuous commitment in organising programmes such as Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Bomba Community, Bomba Children Club (Kelab 3K), Summer Camps and others.
He said this was also part of the department’s corporate social responsibility (CSR). By having such programmes, it will definitely educate people how to prevent, control and what to do when fire occurs.
“About 50 per cent of longhouse fire occurs because village folks were not aware of it and by the time they are, it is too late to do anything. Another 30 per cent came from kitchen fire due to unattended cooking, while the remaining 20 per cent came from electrical appliances or wiring and children playing with matches or lighters,” he said.
Adding that all the above are preventable, Uggah reminded on the need to intensify fire safety education.
He also pledged to assist Bomba Sarawak, via the state government, to provide facilities such as fire extinguishers for villages and longhouses. — DayakDaily