80% of homes without extinguishers – firm

Amber (third right) with Cheah (third left), Teoh (second right), as well as Bui (right) and his partners at the launch of the JAS Right showroom and service centre for Asia’s only designed fire extinguisher brand, Osafe Fire Inspection, here yesterday.

Amber (third right) with Cheah (third left), Teoh (second right), as well as Bui (right) and his partners at the launch of the JAS Right showroom and service centre for Asia’s only designed fire extinguisher brand, Osafe Fire Inspection, here yesterday.

PENAMPANG: Fire extinguishers are often missing or misplaced and forgotten in Malaysian homes.

According to Osafe Fire Inspection Sdn Bhd director Reuben Teoh, 80% of houses in the country do not have the life saving device that is an essential first line of defence against risks posed by fire.

“We started by selling the normal red fire extinguishers four years ago, but found it hard to convince people to get it,” said Teoh when met here yesterday.

“Although homes are equipped with the device, fire extinguishers are often put in the store room because of its dull appearance. When fire occurs people can’t find it, because it is hidden.

“We take life for granted. Everybody knows fire kills, everybody knows fire prevention is important. However, they often think fire will not happen to them and will only take action once it really happens to them,” he added.

Teoh said, fire cases were higher in Sabah and Sarawak compared to West Malaysia, especially in areas with wooden houses built too close together.

“People know the dangers of fire. However, in the end, they take no action because there is no awareness on the importance of preventing fire,” added the Osafe director.

In order to raise the fire prevention awareness level, Osafe founder and managing director Jayden Cheah started to think of ways to change the public’s perception of fire extinguishers.

“We need to do something to create the fire prevention culture, starting from at least the fire extinguisher. Curiosity needs to be created in the market and attention drawn towards the fire extinguisher,” said Cheah.

“Inspiration started from an oil painting. We know that oil painting is a decorative item and people will spend thousands of ringgit to display oil paintings in houses.

“So we started with the oil painting concept and changed the fire extinguisher image into a decoration so you display it in the house,” he said.

The concept was incorporated a year ago into the Osafe fire extinguishers, and transformed the traditional device’s image into a statement household piece and fashionably trendy item.

Cheah has since come up with hundreds of designs that are specially imbued on the shell of the fire extinguisher.

The Malaysian company is the only one in Asia and among less than a handful of companies in the world to offer designed fire extinguishers.

“I don’t think people are going to hide it now. It can be displayed in the living hall, kitchen and bedroom. So when a fire happens, you will know exactly where to get the fire extinguisher at home,” said Teoh.

“It is selling like hotcakes in West Malaysia. We have trust in our products and we have confidence it will become a very popular product in Sabah.

“Anyone that brings this home is bringing the fire prevention culture home. It will be passed from this generation onto the next generation and so forth,” he added.

To further strengthen the fire prevention culture, Osafe appointed international model and Malaysian celebrity Amber Chia as its first ambassador.

“I think it is important for all Malaysians to know that hundreds of ringgit can save your life. To tell you the truth, I didn’t have a fire extinguisher at home before. I had a traditional one in the office, but had no idea where it was located,” shared Chia.

“After speaking to Jayden and Reuben, I now have not one but seven at home. I use them as a decoration and many of my friends who come in the house are surprised to find out that it is a fire extinguisher.

“It is fashionable and matches my personality. I also give them to my friends as a birthday gift or thank you gift. It is not only useful but a good message, showing a wish for the recipient’s safety. It is something presentable, it looks good and they all love it,” she added.

The Osafe fire extinguishers was introduced into the Sabah market on September 2015. Due to the good response, JAS Right, Sabah’s Osafe fire extinguisher master distributor, launched its first showroom and service centre here yesterday.

“I think, the red fire extinguisher can be acquired from DBKK (Kota Kinabalu City Hall) at RM150 and needs to be serviced for around RM30 to RM50 annually,” said JAS Right managing director Jon Bui.

“The Osafe fire extinguisher costs between RM318 to RM398 and should only be serviced after five to six years. Once the pressure needle goes to the red zone, you can bring it back to us for servicing,” he added.

According to Bui, the high quality fire extinguishers CE, BSI, DNV are SIRIM certified. It features an anti-explosion system and the self-releasing pressure enables users to put the Osafe fire extinguishers in the car.

“Normal fire extinguishers cannot be put in the car because of the hot weather but it is safe for you to put Osafe in your car,” explained Bui.