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Friday, August 30, 2019

First woman in Sabah to head fire station!

This year’s National Month celebration is indeed a memorable one for Agustavia Joe Guasi as not only her birthday falls on National Day but she was also appointed as the Chief of the Lintas Fire Station, here, on Aug 1.

The appointment was especially significant as it made Agustavia, 37, the first woman in Sabah to hold the post.

Sharing her story, the mother of four said she started her career in 2001 merely because she needed a job, but as Lady Luck would have it, she now heads a fire station.

Agustavia said before joining as a recruit, she had never thought about being a firefighter and was not even clear about the real job of firefighters, just relating it to fire extinguishing and helping out during road accidents.

“But I promptly fell in love with the job during my recruit training,” said the former student of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Mat Salleh, Ranau.

Talking about her career path, the firefighter, who hails from Kampung Nalapak, Ranau, said she started recruit training at the Sabah Fire Academy for a year before being placed in the training department until 2007.

“Then I was transferred to the Sabah State Operations and Rescue Division from 2007 to 2009. A year later, I worked here (at the Lintas Fire Station) before working at the Sabah Operations Centre from 2011 until July,” she said.

Amazingly, her busy schedule did not stop her from reaching for the stars. Agustavia is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Public Administration degree at Universiti Utara Malaysia.

On significant moments of her career, she said among the tasks she has handled are the “Ops Gempa” in Mount Kinabalu and “Ops Kemarau” in Papar district in 2015 as well as the frequent fires in squatter areas around Kota Kinabalu.

As the head of the fire station, she said, a big task looms for her as she is not only responsible for the staff and the running of the station, but also acts as the front line in dealing with the community.

“Those who are interested to be firefighters, especially women, should be mentally and physically prepared to be able to carry out their duties as firefighters. This career is not as easy as wearing a uniform; this job means constantly putting your life at risk while carrying out the task.

“Some women fear the fire, some women simply become it,” she said, sharing a quote that has inspired her in her journey as a woman firefighter.

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