War on Kampong Ayer fire

|     Hakim Hayat     |

THE Fire and Rescue Department in cooperation with the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) yesterday launched a fire extinguisher distribution programme in the iconic Kampong Ayer which will see installation of hundreds of fire extinguishers at strategic places in the area.

The programme, which also includes distribution of fire prevention tips posters, is part of a continuous effort to raise awareness on blaze incidents and their prevention in Kampong Ayer, which is prone to fire disasters.

During the launching event held at the Begawan Pehin Udana Khatib Haji Awang Umar Religious School in Kampong Setia Brunei I, Director of Fire and Rescue Lt Col (Rtd) Yahya bin Haji Abdul Rahman shared that statistics in the last three years has shown an increase in the number of fire incidents in Kampong Ayer, with 14 incidents recorded in 2016 compared to only two incidents each in 2015 and 2014 respectively.

The director said investigations suggest that the common cause of fires in the area include cooking left unattended, electrical overload, poor wiring and children playing with fire, to name a few.

In its bid to combat the occurrence of fire incidents and enhance readiness of residents in the area, the director said that the department is continuously improving its response system by adding on to the existing equipment they have at their fire stations in Kampong Ayer and increasing the frequency of their response drills, while also instilling a preparedness culture among residents.

He said these initiatives will help the community and residents of Kampong Ayer to be more alert and act swiftly in the event of fires and increase their understanding on safety aspects, common causes of fire, actions that have to be taken during a fire and the correct way of using fire extinguishers.

Haji Idris bin Haji Md Ali, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, installing a fire extinguisher at a house in Kg Setia ‘B’. - HAKIM HAYAT
Haji Idris bin Haji Md Ali, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, installing a fire extinguisher at a house in Kg Setia ‘B’. – HAKIM HAYAT

He shared that some of the public awareness programmes that have been carried out include survey of homes in the area through visits by officials from the department with the support of the Department of Electrical Services, roadshows and safety and fire prevention briefings to village residents.

On the installation of the fire extinguishers at strategic and high-risk areas, the director said that this will allow immediate response in case of a fire, adding that the department is also working on a ‘fire extinguisher point’ indicator in a digital map to be used in open Internet sources such as Google Map to enable residents to locate their nearest fire extinguishers in case of a fire.

The guest of honour at yesterday’s event Haji Idris bin Haji Md Ali, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), handed over the posters to some 18 village heads from five Mukims in Kampong Ayer – Burong Pingai Ayer, Peramu, Tamoi, Saba, and Sungai Kebun and Kampong Pudak.

In the initial phase, 40 dry powder type fire extinguishers will be distributed and installed at strategic places in Kampong Ayer, while 278 more will be installed in subsequent phases.

The deputy permanent secretary installed fire extinguishers at two houses in Kampong Setia ‘B’ to launch the project and later witnessed a demonstration of the use of fire extinguishers by village residents.

Also present at the event was Legislative Council member YB Naim bin Haji Kamis who is also the Penghulu of Mukim Kota Batu.