KUCHING: Fifty per cent of longhouse fires were caused by faulty wires and the trend is increasing.
State director of Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Nor Hisham Mohammad said this time round last year, there were only four fire cases reported but this year the cases shot up to 12 with casualties.
He was met by reporters after closing the firefighting operational competency competition for Southern Zone 2014 at Tabuan Jaya Bomba here yesterday.
“These days longhouse folks still use old wiring which tends to get overloaded from the modern high power voltage Sesco line, on top of which more electrical appliances are being used,” he said.
“Out of the 12 cases of longhouses being gutted by fire to-date, five cases were attributed to wiring and the rest to cooking and children,” he added.
Nor Hisham revealed that Bomba had plans and its target this year is to go to 70 longhouses and 80 villages.
“The target can be achieved though limited by budget.”
He disclosed that the Social Development Ministry had allocated RM10,000 when Bomba started the programme on firefighting in longhouses statewide with folks happy about the training.
Nor Hisham said Petronas would allocate RM25,000 for the firefighting programme of kampungs in Miri.
He said continuous education was a must and for the record from 2012 until now, three longhouse fires were put off using fire extinguishers before they could cause further damage.
“If you do costing on each longhouse, the loss is between RM800,000 to millions. So Bomba saved RM3 million with a budget of only RM100,000 a year.
He hoped more non-government organisations would be involved in their programme, and that FRDM would go further in the effort through the Minor Rural Project fund from the people’s representative.
Nor Hisham revealed that in 2013, they got 118 longhouses involved (target 80). Last year they achieved 77 villages (target 80).
“We also do summer camp programme with village or longhouse folks on firefighting techniques and operation where Bomba invited two persons to be with Bomba. We taught them all they need to know about firefighting which they showed good response to,’ he added.
Nor Hisham said Bomba would hold three programmes this year namely in Mukah, Saratok and Miri. Kuching Bomba will hold the programme in Batu Lintang so needs 120 fire equipment for which they might need assistance from NGOs.