Part two of a three-part series
Bomba 3K Club
When it comes to cultivating good habits and instilling noble values, it is best to start from a young age.
The Malay proverb ‘melentur buluh biarlah dari rebungnya’ (to bend a bamboo, start when it is still a shoot) is often used to illustrate the importance of educating the young generation who will be contributing to their communities and nation in the future.
The same Malay proverb became the holding principle in the establishment of the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Malaysia’s Children Fire Safety Club (3K Club).
State Bomba director Khirudin Drahman holds onto this concept dearly as he believes it is pertinent that young children are given the right inputs on total fire safety.
“We want to create a fire resistant and resilient community. In order to do this, we have to start from the young ones,” he explained.
According to the State Bomba Fire Safety Division assistant director Mohamad Fauzi Mohamat Kifli, the children in Sarawak who are involved in the 3K Club have shown great interest, excitement and fascination in the activities conducted.
In revealing this, he said 14,228 participants took part in the 454 activities organised by the club from 2018 to 2020.
He said that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic there were no problems in conducting 3K Club activities with young children.
“We were fortunate we had good response from nurseries and kindergartens. Everything went smoothly,” he said.
Children and fire safety
In general, the 3K Club teaches young children about firefighting; how to stop, drop, roll and crawl under a fire; recognise numbers and colours; draw and communicate.
The programme is similar to programmes undertaken in other countries like Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Mohamad Fauzi explained that the 3K Club had three modules which combined theoretical with practical knowledge and field trips.
“There are 10 sessions for Module 1: Theory and it is usually conducted in a day. This is followed by Module 2: Practical with four sessions, and Module 3: Fire Safety Field Trip. Each module takes half a day.
“Among the learning outcomes are knowing what fire is, learning not to burn, identifying good fire versus bad fire as well as the concept of stop, drop and roll.
“Besides that, the young children are also taught how to get out safely and staying out, planning their escape in the event of a fire and practising it,” he said.
The 3K Club’s activities are often conducted by two Bomba instructors alongside two to three teachers per session.
Some of the nurseries, kindergartens and schools that have participated are Tabika Taman Duranta, Tabika Batu Gong, Tabika Seratau, Tadika Gembira Siniawan and Tabika Kemas Kampung Sekambal among others.
Mohamad Fauzi added, “Through the 3K Club, the young children are taught both theoretically and practically. This includes the principle of stop, drop and roll, staying low in smoke and the fire drill.
“One of the most important factors is that the young children must know and understand how fires can be dangerous. Thus, they need to learn how to avoid starting a fire and what to do if there is a fire at home or wherever they may be.
“With this basic knowledge, they will know how to help prevent fires and this will reduce unwanted incidents from happening at home in particular. Moreover, an early education institution is the best venue to cultivate and foster the culture of fire safety among children.”.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mohamad Fauzi said the department could not implement various programmes and activities including the 3K Club.
He said it had been utilising various virtual and online platforms for the programmes and activities so that the initiatives for public awareness and knowledge could go on.
However, the department is looking forward to the reopening of schools so that more programmes and activities involving school children including those in nurseries and kindergartens can be organised
“We are always ready and eager to implement the 3K Club’s activities. However, this also depends on whether the current Covid-19 situation is safe for the children. Of course, if the situation permits, these activities will be conducted in strict compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set,” he said.
Mohamad Fauzi hoped more 3K Clubs could be established in nurseries, kindergartens and schools to raise children’s awareness on fire safety and the dangers of fires.
“Children are among the high-risk group of fire victims. Unfortunately, they are also at the risk of causing fires. Therefore, education on the basic knowledge of fire safety from an early stage and at a young age is extremely crucial.
“With the presence of the 3K Club in early education institutions, young children can be educated on how to act and save themselves in the event of a fire be it at home or anywhere else.
“I hope that the community will continue to support and participate in the various fire safety learning programmes and activities that are available. This is because the fire safety culture must be continuously cultivated within the community across all age groups,” he said.
Mohamad Fauzi emphasised that fire safety was a shared responsibility. Thus, the community must have a sense of ownership for the programmes as they were for the sake everyone’s safety and wellbeing.