Our Learner, The FirefighterWebmaster
It was a day like any other, but then it was not. A fire scare led staff at the OUM headquarters in Kelana Jaya, Selangor, to hurriedly evacuate the building for the safety of the open field opposite. Fortunately, it turned out to be nothing serious and no one was hurt. In the midst of the drama on 2 June, one interesting fact emerged – one of the firefighters who had rushed to our rescue is an OUM learner.
Stationed at the fire department in Petaling Jaya, Firdaus Abu Bakar has been studying in the Bachelor of Occupational Safety and Health Management (BOSHM) programme since September 2018.
“Before enrolling, I checked out the programme contents and found out it was relevant to my work. For example, it touched on the importance of wearing breathing equipment when working in confined spaces. This is also our SOP, in order to avoid inhaling poisonous gases.
“BOSHM also has a course on legal rules and regulations that cover all sectors, including public service. It highlights the responsibilities of both employers and employees and their rights. Through this course, I learnt how these legal provisions protect workers in Malaysia.”
The 34-year-old father of two has been a firefighter for 10 years, after a short stint at a private company in Melaka. “Obviously, I enjoy my job because I get to fight fires and save lives. But I also like it because it covers a diversity of knowledge, such as on building safety and law enforcement.
“The job has its sad moments, like when I found the charred remains of a baby in a fire while I was working with the fire department in Ampang. A firefighter needs to be mentally strong because anything could happen at any time. We have to overcome fear and anxiety while conducting our operations.”
For Firdaus, BOSHM has double-pronged benefits. “I find that my work processes become clearer when I learn about them in my studies. It also serves as a ticket to career progress since we need at least a degree if we want to reach the management and professional grade (Grade 41 and above) in public service.
“Of course, each learning process has its own challenges. Whether it becomes easy or tough depends on us. If we manage our time well, it will become easy. Not everyone knows how to work and study at the same time. This is where OUM’s module on open and distance learning skills comes in handy, as it teaches us the correct learning techniques.”
It was great getting to know one of our learners up close, though in an unfortunate situation. We look forward to seeing him again, this time at a happy occasion – his graduation.