A CLOSE CALL

By Anthony Dylan

Getting to bed every night is one where anyone would look forward to. At that time, one would finally be able to relax and get a good sleep. We pray that each day we wake up and get to live one more day before we fall asleep again preparing for the next day.

On this particular night and managing to sleep I awoke feeling uneasy a few hours later. I smelt a familiar smell. A smell that was reminiscent to durian taken out from the fridge and the container opened. I thought awhile. Who would take out the durian in the fridge downstairs at near 2am in the morning? Everyone was supposed to be asleep. There was no football that night and it cannot be that that I was dreaming the scent. Impossible for the durian to be taken out by someone that early in the morning.

It took a few seconds for me to start thinking of the other possibility. It smelt like cooking gas. Remembering what I remembered, I quickly asked my wife if she smelt anything. I then told her that it smelt like gas. I had to go and check. We first ensured we did not touch the switches. We did not switch on nor switch off any switches which were left on. That included the already running air-conditioning in the bedroom. I took the yellow Dolphin brand torch light and started to open all windows at our floor.

As we reached the ground floor, the smell was more intense, and continued to open the sliding doors and the main doors. We had to remind ourselves constantly to not touch the switches as it can be a natural reaction to want to touch them. Once those were done, we went into the kitchen and found that the gas cylinder was the source of the smell. We quickly opened the back door and let the place get aerated. I removed the regulator as I thought it would stop whatever leaks. I was so wrong.

The gas cylinder defective valve instead proved to be the issue. Gas gushed out with a strong hissing sound. I could not put the regulator back and in quick successive actions, I placed the gas cylinder with the hissing valve outside.

We quickly informed the emergency group of our Taman, informed the Guard house and then also called 999. To be honest, this was the first time I had ever encountered such a situation. Only my brothers have ever experienced calling the same for emergencies. One for a break in (in USJ) and another one for a python intrusion (in Kuching). The guard of our Taman came first to help check. He said upon checking at the back lane, it was still hissing. I then informed him that I was on the line with Bomba when he came back to advise me of his findings.

The call gave me a firsthand experience on the efficiency of the service. They picked up the call in a few rings. It was impressive. The good lady behind the call calmly asked of the type of emergency. She also clarified with what I explained in a summary to check if the information was right including my identification and location.

She also asked that I wait online as she patched me into the Bomba emergency service. The nice fellow there then asked again of the information received to confirm and also available landmarks. I was also asked if everyone was outside the house and the location of the cylinder. At the end, they asked me to wait as they dispatched Bomba.  A minute or so upon putting the call down, the police department from the Subang Jaya IPD called to confirm that I called Bomba and to verify the emergency.

The police car came within 5 minutes after the first 17 minutes on the call. Both officers calmly came over and stated that we would need to wait for Bomba as we needed to ensure safety. In about 5 minutes later, Bomba arrived in their fire truck. They introduced themselves and the team leader asked what they could expect. They went in and checked with their torchlight. Within 5 minutes later, they came out and informed that the gas cylinder has expelled all the gas. They also advised that the place is safe to enter. The team leader then proceeded to go in and switch on all the fans for me.

Before they left, the team leader advised that in future, we can try to close the cylinder valve by pressing on the trigger a few times to check if the valve can be unstuck. If unsure, then to place in an open area away from hazards. They then took a picture of my identity card before we thanked them and the police.

The whole episode was a real-life experience which I hope would help you understand that no matter what you do, it is important to try to stay as calm as possible, safety first and contact the emergency services. I could not get all their names of those involved as I only could catch Azizul from the Police and Jaafar from Bomba. Thank you for the experience and the services rendered. The approach taken by the call handlers, Police and Bomba are truly professional and commendable.

I hope everyone reading this understand that we do have good people behind emergency services, and it is up to us to also acknowledge their impeccable service delivery in such a situation.