Dicing with death each time, these APM women are called to capture snakes. Photo: Bernama

ALOR SETAR: The Malaysian Civil Defence Force (APM) have many functions and roles, but the services of the members of this uniformed body are most often sought to help capture venomous animals, especially snakes slithering around residential areas.

Although the task of capturing the reptile is only one of its many roles, the APM never takes calls of distress over the threat from these reptiles lightly.

Sharing her experience catching snakes, Kota Setar APM member Sergeant Rashidah Saidin, 36, said courage and self-confidence are the most important things to have, while complying to the standard operating procedures (SOP).

She said the safety aspects of the uniform and equipment used were always a priority especially when faced with aggressive species such as king cobras and monocled cobras.

Dicing with death each time, these APM women are called to capture snakes. Photo: Bernama

“As a member of the APM, regardless of gender, we have to master this skill because poisonous snakes like the monocled cobra are very aggressive and dangerous,” she told reporters here today.

Rashidah, who has served in the force for 12 years and captured hundreds of snakes, said negligence could cause the snakes to escape and pose a danger to the firefighter and others in the area.

“Even though I have caught a lot of snakes, I still get nervous every time I am faced with an aggressive and venomous snake and I have to always be careful,” said Rashidah who once caught a 60-kg five-metre long python.

Rashidah’s colleague, Lance Corporal Siti Hamizah Md Zain, 32, said that out of 10 emergency cases the Kota Setar APM gets each day, two to three have to do with snakes.

She said the situation have made her and the other female APM members to be more prepared, since male members are often called to handle other emergencies.

“At times when the male staff are out to attend to other cases, and there are only women members on duty here, we have to respond to emergency calls of snake threats and catch it,” she said.

She added that at present, there were six women working in Kota Setar APM who can handle the task of catching snakes, something which was previously done by the male APM members. – Bernama