Federal Government has said that it has established “a technical group to assess Oil Tank Farm Safety and Management” in Nigeria with a view to mitigating disasters arising from oil tank farm explosions especially in the Southwest and South South. This was as the Federal Fire Service FFS said it saved 1,453 lives in 2020, and property worth N1.35 trillion, adding that it responded to 3, 555 fire calls while the country lost property worth N32.12 billion. While public or government buildings recorded 543 incidents, private dwellings recorded 1,382 fire incidents. Also affected were educational establishments, shops, hotels, event centres and others. According to the Service, 574 fire incidents were caused by faulty electrical equipment, 246 by power surges, 51 by candles, 181 by cigarette stubs and bush fires, 404 by accident and arson as well as several other causes.
Also, as part of renewed efforts to reduce fire incidents in the country, the Federal Government has concluded plans to establish fire stations across the nation’s 109 Senatorial Districts. At a media interface in Abuja, Controller General of the Federal Fire Service FFS, Dr Liman Alhaji Ibrahim said the service will also purchase 89 fire fighting trucks made up of 44 water tenders, 15 ambulances, 15 water tankers and 15 rapid intervention vehicles. “We discovered that it is necessary to extend our operations from the state headquarters to the Senatorial Districts so that we can be closer to the people because the closer we are, the better our response time.
The moment we start taking delivery of these vehicles, we will now identify some Senatorial Districts that are more prone to disasters and then we deploy our men and trucks. But we will pick them state by state. We must touch every state. The first number of trucks is 44 and we have 36 states. So, we will identify one from each of the states and send the vehicle there. When the next batch of trucks comes, we will continue with that until we are able to cover the 109 Senatorial Districts in the country”, he stated. Ibrahim who frowned at continued attacks by mob at fire scenes, said the service has concluded an arrangement with the Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC to provide armed personnel to secure scenes of fire incidents for the unhindered operation of fire fighters.
He said; “In most cases, our men are attacked when they respond to fire outbreak or other emergencies. We have records of this from the Nyanya axis. We have stopped our men from responding to fire calls from that area until the community leaders are able to call their wards to order. We have also engaged the Nigeria Police and the NSCDC to provide cover for our men and equipment during emergencies”, he said. On funding the ma y projections of the service for 2021, the CGF said, “there is a section of the NAICOM Act that says they should give certain percentage to the fire service, not to the Federal Fire Service but the fire service at the federal, states and local governments. So, we are engaging the management of NAICOM to ensure that the money is released for the maintenance of our fire trucks and capacity building”. According to him, the Service in 2020 commissioned and deployed 36 state-of-the-art fire fighting trucks across the six geo-political zones to complement the State Fire Services’ operations and reduce response time to fire and other related emergencies.
He said the Service also collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Environment and trained 750 personnel on COVID-19 response strategies and participated in decontamination and disinfection exercise in 2020 which included Government Offices, Schools, Markets, Streets, Churches, Mosques and recreation centres across the country; Other landmarks he said were the establishment of eight National Fire Data Repository Centre (NPDRC) across the six geo-political zones of the country to enhance speedy response to emergency calls; Deployment of fire fighter’s tunic worth N6.5m to Bauchi and Kebbi State Governments; and synergising with the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy to improve and integrate the Service communication with 112″.