Saving lives and serving the community is what drives the best firemen

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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

SAVING lives and helping the community are the main drivers why one should join the Fire and Rescue Department, said a young fireman.

These noble virtues were the reasons why Abd Hadi Zulfadli Hj Yahya chose to be a fireman.

Abd Hadi Zulfadli revealed this upon being honoured in a Rank Insignia ceremony by Fire and Rescue Director Yahya Hj Abd Rahman at the department’s headquarters in Berakas yesterday.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, Abd Hadi who graduated with a Physical Education degree from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) said that the call to become a fireman never crossed his mind as he was growing up.

“None of my parents or 12 siblings are in the fire department,” he said.

“When I graduated, I actually became a table tennis coach and even got offered a contract,” he added.

However in a bid to explore more opportunities, he turned down the offer and became an apprentice at Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) in Belait.

Yet this internship did not last long as Abd Hadi shared in the interview that his time there made him realise that desk jobs were not for him.

Then when the Fire and Rescue Department gave him a call, he quit BSP and knew what he wanted to do.

Abd Hadi began his fireman service training on February 25, 2013 at the department’s training centre in Berakas.

Upon completion he was sent abroad for the eight-month Rota Commander Course at the Singapore Civil Defence Academy (SCDA) which ended on February 28, 2014. Describing his experience in Singapore, he said that the training was gruelling.

“The fitness level there is different, even an excellent fitness level does not guarantee that you can get through,” he said.

“Under the sun wearing the fireman’s gear and heavy load facemask can be very hot,” he added.

Abd Hadi explained that when wearing the mask, they had to learn how to control their breathing.

“Plus when you run with the gear, you cannot just do it randomly you have to use your momentum,” he told The Brunei Times.

Abd Hadi’s training starts from 5am until late afternoon, broken by a brief afternoon lunch and followed by training again until 6pm, which can be extended.

“Here the training too is different, even when I came to Singapore around the fasting month of Ramadhan, there’s no discount (to not train),” he said.

Besides undergoing training courses, Abd Hadi already has had a real-life fire experience.

“It’s not a bad choice to join the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) or Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) but for me being a fireman is an honourable profession and some people do not realise what we go through,” he said.

“Because in Singapore even though still in training we were deployed for a fire call,” Abd Hadi said.

He clarified that they already had a badge and were certified by the higher authority to attend to real situations.

“I climbed up a platform ladder and I could see the overall picture of the fire and how dangerous it was seeing that it was a chemical fire,” he said.

His biggest surprise in training was realising how long it took extinguish a fire.

“Previously I thought an hour or two would be enough but the degree of the heat is incredible,” he said.

“Because we need to really dowse the fire’s heat wave to prevent it from reigniting once more,” he explained.

The ceremony saw newly appointed officer Abd Hadi welcomed and accepted to the ranks of his senior Fire and Rescue Department officers.

The Brunei Times