The Harakah Investigative Team (HIT) which had left for Temerloh Jan 8 and returned home a day later though tired, is willing to go back should the call of duty be made again.
HIT, which operated under the Bangi Volunteer Firefighter Association was part of a contingent of volunteers and off-duty firefighters from Hulu Langat who had gone to do their part and help out the recent flood clean-up efforts.
Among volunteer firefighter associations that took part were Lembah Jaya, Sri Nanding and Balakong.
In addition to wanting to do their part, the team from Harakah was additionally motivated by a recent request from PAS president, Dato Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, that everyone especially party organs and members should chip in and go down to all affected areas.
HIT was led by mission chief Wan Zahari Wan Mohd Salleh and assisted by Sufi Naz and Nur Hasmira Mohamad.
The seven vehicle contingent departed from the Pandan Indah Fire Station at 930 am after receiving a briefing from Senior Fire Superintendant II, Mohd Hamizal Ainuddin and saying a short prayer.
Hamizal when met after flagging off the vehicles said programmes such as these were organized depending on the immediate needs of the disaster affected areas.
The Hulu Langat Fire Safety department branch head said we would all take the initiative to help out in whatever way possible, in some cases being the middlemen between donors and those in need.
In addition to that, the Fire and Rescue Department for example, had a post-fire service, where we would help victims of a fire, obtain their important documents which they had lost, he said.
“This is the direction”, he said, “the department is heading now, not only being useful during fires and rescue situations but also in other areas as well.”
Many fire stations in all zones had already organized similar efforts such as was being done by Hulu Langat, he pointed out.
His advice to all flood victims was to keep themselves safe.
“Of paramount importance is being aware of the possibility of electrical shocks happening while the victims are cleaning up their homes and surroundings,” he said.
All invited to join
Bangi Volunteer Firefighters Association secretary, Alan Yee Chun Lung when contacted Jan 9 said the recent mission was a brainchild of a chairman of one of the many volunteer firefighter teams in Hulu Langat.
“The idea received strong support from the Hulu Langat Fire Department, and since it was well received, it immediately received the go-ahead about a week ago.”
“More missions are in the pipeline as well, and should a decision be made on those, we the volunteer firefighter associations in Hulu Langat will whole-heartedly support it,” he said.
“What we are in need now,” he said, “more than ever, are more volunteers to join the various volunteer firefighter associations throughout the country.”
“We find that the 20 and 30 year-olds nowadays, are more interested in their hand phones rather than giving back to the community”, he lamented.
“Should even there be volunteers of that age bracket present, more often than not, they would only come for training off and on, making the need to develop a team a trained volunteer firefighters a challenging task,” he added.
“Getting funding too is tough, and many volunteers are using their own money to equip the team, despite it being established to help the community”.
“It is my sincere hope that the federal and state governments would look into the matter and perhaps in the future even consider giving allowances to volunteer firefighters, as a token of gratitude for their selfless service,” said Alan.
HIT mission chief, Wan Zahari when met after his return said the camaraderie between the volunteer firefighters was astounding.
“Furthermore, we were treated like equals when we arrived in Temerloh, by the firefighters there.”
“We were there to help, and the cooperation given by the Temerloh firefighters made our trip, a memorable one,” he said.
HIT member, Sufi Naz said there were definitely several anxious moments while we were there, but as we were all part of a trained team, all were quickly overcome.
She said that the Temerloh residents when met said the water rose so quickly that many were unable to save their belongings.
Another HIT member, Nur Hasmira Mohamad said Temerloh folk were giving each other a helping hand with the clean-up efforts.
When asked whether if other missions should be organized, Wan Zahari, Naz and Hasmira were all in agreement saying they would definitely answer the call to help, anytime. - ES