Sunday August 19, 2012
Fire dept officers answer call of duty first
By FARIK ZOLKEPLI
KUALA TERENGGANU: While most people are busy heading back to their hometowns, Fire and Rescue Department officer Anis Fadila Zakaria can only dream of spending Hari Raya with her family back in Kelantan.
In fact, the 30-year-old Kuala Krai-born officer had been on duty at the Terengganu Fire and Rescue Department headquarters during Hari Raya for the best part of the last 11 years.
“I can count with one hand how many times I've been back home in Kuala Krai for Hari Raya.
“However, it is not something to be sad about ... I have a duty to fulfil,” she told The Star.
“My duty as an emergency medical rescue unit personnel far outweighs any personal longing for my hometown.
“It is our mandate to be on the frontline in case any fire or disaster occurs during the holidays.”
Asked whether such work would affect her marriage, the mother of four children aged between three and nine said her husband Yusmizan Yusof, 37, was also in the department.
“He will be on duty too. It has become our tradition' to work during the holidays. We can always go back to our hometown after our duty ends,” she said.
Fellow officer Mohd Sobree Mohamad Salleh, 26, said that not going back for Hari Raya had become the norm, but he insisted it was not that bad because his co-workers were his adopted family during the festive season.
“Despite being on duty, we create the Hari Raya spirit at the station with festive songs as well as bringing tasty delicacies such as rendang to be shared by all.
“I do miss my family in Pahang but they understand my responsibilities,” he said.
Fireman Kamal Ruzaman Hamzah, 34, said he had become used to being on duty while other family members were celebrating.
“I would phone home to ask about the Hari Raya celebrations and the next second, an alarm would blare and off we will all go.
“We never complain because we know our responsibilities make a difference between a person's life and death,” he said.