KUCHING: Committees in-charge of security and development or JKKKs of longhouses and villages in Sarawak are urged not to neglect fire preventive measures in their list of responsibilities.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah in giving this advice, said such task has now become all the more pertinent and important given the many cases of longhouse fires this year.
As such, he hoped longhouses and villages would set up fire risk group with all members aware of their respective duties during fire incidences.
“The person entrusted to lead this fire risk group must be able to organise his members at the very instant when a fire breaks out, at the crucial time when there would be panic and utter confusion.
“But if the 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.
“There is no room for complacency particularly during any big celebration at the longhouse because a fire outbreak can be very destructive,” he said.
Uggah, who is also Bukit Saban assemblyman, said these when closing a community fire-fighting course for 110 participants from 19 longhouses at Rh Ambu Liben in Suri Tengah, Betong yesterday.
On the course, Uggah commended the Fire and Rescue Department for organising it since many longhouses are located far away from their nearest fire stations.
He said such courses would equip longhouses folk with some ideas of fire-fighting techniques as the first responding group.
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 ownership document to a vehicle for the Spaoh fire-fighting voluntary units.
Earlier in his speech, the leader of the participants TR Edmund Gumbang said the 27 longhouse fires statewide this year, causing loss of property estimated at over RM50 million and a few casualties, was a cause for concern
He urged the government to upgrade the Betong fire station so that it could have more personnel and better fire-fighting equipment.
A political secretary to the chief minister Dr Richard Rapu, Betong Resident Friday Belik and Fire Superintendent Nik Mohd Afiq Nik Roslan from Sri Aman Fire and Rescue Department were among others present at the function.