FEMA DG identifies causes of incessant fire outbreaks in FCT

In furtherance of the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s (FCTA) resolve to reduce fire incidences, the Director General, FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Alhaji Abbas Idriss, has emphasised the need for residents to be careful to avoid fire outbreaks in the current harmattan session.

In a statement made available to Blueprint in Abuja, Monday, signed by FEMA’s acting Head of Public Relations, Ngaha Faustina, while interacting with newsmen in his office recently, Idriss lamented the frequent incidences of fire outbreaks within the nation’s capital, especially in markets.

He blamed most of the incidents on human error and manhandling of electrical appliances, while also expressing concern over residents who locate their gas cylinders in their kitchen, store fuel in their houses and shops and shop owners using generating sets close to people that are cooking, thereby resulting to outbreaks.

The FEMA boss expressed sadness over the negative impacts of fire incidences in the FCT, which had led to destruction of public and private properties and sometimes loss of lives, Idriss.

He advised residents and shop owners to desist from acts that are inimical to safety, else they would share in the problems when fire occurs.

Citing examples of Gwarinpa market fire incident and the recent Kugbo furniture market fire incident, Idriss urged FCT residents to cooperate with the FCTA by being safety conscious at all items to avoid falling victims of fire disasters, urging them to always put off electrical appliance when not in use, check gas cylinders before purchase to avoid buying expired gas cylinders and ensure it’s properly locked when not in use.

He said: “Most fire outbreaks are usually caused by human error and negligence, and can be prevented if we do the right things, so it can be averted through attitudinal change. Residents should desist from buying substandard electrical appliances and avoid manipulating electrical installation to suit their personal gain; as a check against fire outbreaks.

“The Abuja Market Authority (AMML) should implement the fire code that stipulates, amongst other requirements, that public and private buildings shall install fire defence equipment to guarantee protection of lives and property. They should ensure that the markets have at least a Rapid Response Intervention point, such as fire hydrants at strategic parts in the markets or plaza, so that fire tenders won’t have to go outside the market in search of water during dry fire incident.

“There is also need for market managers to always segregate the market by distancing highly inflammable items as well as restaurants away from other items to avoid acts that can trigger fire.

“Residents and shop owners should beware of the risks involved in their businesses and know how best to manage them. They should always insure their goods and properties with registered insurance companies, so as to have compensation at anytime of loss. Most people have apathy for insurance, but that is the dependable way of protecting their assets as government cannot be able to compensate the quantum of losses arising from fire incidents in the FCT.

“In fact, Government must enforce the compulsory insurance laws in place, so as to help people in business and residents to safeguard their goods and properties. I also want to appeal to traditional leaders and village heads to advise their wards against bush burning especially now that they have begun preparing their farms in readiness for the next planting season by setting fire in the farms indiscriminately, which can result in uncontrollable fire.

“In case you didn’t know, the disadvantages of bush burning far outweigh any argument in favour of it, especially in the rural areas. However, in its efforts to reduce fire outbreaks in the FCT, FEMA is embarking on a fire safety campaigns using selected radio, television stations and newspapers to educate residents on safety measures and management.

“In conclusion, residents should visit any fire service station for required fire defence equipment and know how to use them and also call the 3 digit National Toll Free Emergency Number (112) or any fire service station nearest to them, including the FCT Call Centre, for prompt response to any disaster within the FCT.”

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