The federal government has commissioned another twenty new Basic Life Support Ambulance buses and seven state-of-the-art firefighting trucks as part of efforts to reduce incidences of fire disasters in the country.
The newly acquired equipment were part of the N10.4 billion infrastructure upgrade approved by the Federal Executive Council on March 3, comprising of 44 firefighting engines, 15 water tankers, 15 rapid intervention fire engines that can go into any nook and cranny to respond to distressed calls.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony Tuesday in Abuja, minister of Interior Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said since the present administration of Muhammadu Buhari came onboard FFS has experienced “a phenomenal transformation from a moribund department to a vibrant organisation equipped with modern and state of the art firefighting equipment.”
The minister believe that the addition of these new ambulance buses and trucks and their deployment to the various zonal and state commands would enhance service delivery of the Federal Fire Service during emergencies.
While lamenting the impact of fire disasters, Aregbesola said many homes and vehicles would have been saved if the small mobile fire extinguishers have been handy when fire struck.
“There is also the superstitious belief that fire incidents usher prosperity. This is callous and dangerous. Some people lost their life investments in fire from which they never recover while human lives lost to fire can never be brought back.
“It is noted that 2020 into 2021 has witnessed frightening fire incidents, ranging from markets to gas and pipelines fires around the country. Statistics at our disposal show that the FFS in 2020 to the first quarter of 2021 received 4,541 fire calls from which regrettably, 158 lives were lost and property lost is estimated at N41.5 billion.
“The good news is that the Service within the year under review also saved about 1,275 lives, rescue about 387 persons in distress due to fire and other related emergencies while saving property worth over N3.7trillion.”
The former Osun state governor urged the zonal and state Commands where the newly acquired vehicles would be deployed to reciprocate the federal government’s gesture, to optimize and effectively use the assets to improve fire cover, enhance emergency response operations, and complement State Fire Services operations while enhancing fire safety across the country.
“Let me remind us all that the people are the definitive security agents at large, for the security of lives and property and security from disasters and emergencies like fire. Government institutions and security agencies should therefore cultivate them and make them their primary agents in order to be successful.
“The people should also position themselves to be in the best place to secure their lives and make it easy for government to help them. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Everyone should be sensitive to and watchful of developments around them, especially matters that should be of security concern.”
Speaking earlier, the permanent secretary Ministry of Interior Dr. Shuaibu Begore, the ministry was proud of the achievements of FFS because the budget meant for the service were judiciously used.
He asked the management of FFS to make judicious use of the equipment and ensure good maintainance.
While assuring the general public of improved service delivery, Controller General Dr. Liman Alhaji Ibrahim, said theFFS’s “operational scope have spanned all the states of the federation and FCT. I am further reiterating the commitment and assuring the Honourable Minister, that before the end of this year, we will commence deployment of our personnel and assets to the 72 remaining Senatorial Districts.”