In the wake of increasing attacks by arsonists in some parts of the country, the Federal Capital Territory Fire Service, has challenged state governors to expend funds in equipping states’ fire stations with hi-techs.
The Fire service boss, Opetunsin Julius while stating this during a community fire safety awareness and donation of fire safety equipment to a Model Junior Secondary School, in Abuja, asserted that it will aid the service’s effectiveness at the state level.
The community fire safety awareness and donation of fire safety equipment program was organized by the Rotary Club Asokoro, Abuja Diamond in collaboration with the FCT Fire Service and sponsored by Mirror of the masses initiative.
Speaking during an interview, the fire service boss, represented by the FCT Public Relations Officer, Ibrahim Tauheed said that it is imperative for the service to engage secondary school students about the right response to fire incidents around them.
Addressing issues of fire menace reported in Nigeria in the past couple of months, Ibrahim said that the reason most fire incidents had happened unabated in some of the states is due to the poor fire service force in some states and the absolute equipment used for fire control in those state.
He said: “Some states are not doing well in equipping or motivating the fire service but that is not to be said of FCT as it is so proactive that we set up our fire stations in almost every nook and cranny of FCT, especially from Abagji up to Bwari from Bwari up to Karu, and we have about 16 fire stations, the more are still springing up.
“However, that of the states is political will because if you care less about safety, then you are ready to bear the cost. And that is why when it happens, it becomes so devastation.
“We are pleading with governors so that they will have the political will to make the fire service adjusted in their various states functional so that they be more productive and the only way to go by it is to give them more equipment and give them training so that they will employ more personnel so that they will be able to cover the entire state.
“I’m calling all the state governors to do same because they should copy from what the Minister of FCT is doing in the FCT. We are trying and we are springing up more stations soon which I believe you the media will be abreast of the situation.”
While speaking on the need to sensitize secondary school child at their level, the PRO bemoaned the level of ignorance displayed by most parents in tackling fire incidents at home, said the students when sensitized would do the needful at home.
“I actually want the students to take this knowledge back home so that they will be our Vanguard anywhere they are. We have seen students coming out of their cars and helping out another car that is on fire. We want students to go back and tell the parents the right things to do.
“those are the type of students we want to see in our society, those who have the courage to really fight fire to prevent fire from happening, both at home and in their schools.
The Service’s PRO who said the service is currently carrying-out a “dry season campaign” assured the management of the school that it would establish a fire safety club in the school environs so as to help the students on the manner to go during a fire breakout.
According to him, in the course of the lecture I told them that we would be back to integrate fire safety club in this school.
“Though we’ve done that in so many schools here in FCT but we’re still yet to cover so many. So we actually told them that we are going to come back and introduce more to them using the medium of fire safety club.
“Yes, we are in a season now that that is kind of fire outbreak is much happening in the season like these are harmattan season so we are actually embarking on dry season campaign.
“Immediately after dry season campaign we are certain to go back to our fire safety in schools and some other organizations.
“We’re actually doing that in pari pass with the dry season campaign. We are giving more emphasis on dry season campaign than other season because we just want people to be of good behavior on how they are burning their farms, how they are being careless at home. So, that’s why we said we would take the dry season campaign seriously”, he added.
The president of the Rotary Club Asokoro diamond, Abuja, said that the sensitization program was organized to help inform the growing wards on the proper thing to do where ever they find themselves.
He stated: “we organized this program to tell the children and young ones that fire safety is the key and how to manage fire outbreaks.
“After this exercise we will still go to other school because we are in partnership with fire service. We won’t be stopping here. We are still going to do more in spreading it across Abuja and we will be doing online sensitization, too.”
Speaking on what he learnt during the awareness creation program, one of the prize winners, Emeka Iheanacho, said that the he had known what he never knew before and that the knowledge gained was useful, stating that he would take it back home to educate his parents on fire safety.
“Some of the things discussed today were news to me. I did not know them before, especially knowing that there is something they call fire blanket.
” the ideas are good and I would take them back home to tell my parents. My mother has to know about the risk she is leaving the gas cylinder inside the house that is supposed to be outside.
” I want to thank the agencies that came around to educate us on what we have known today”, he said.
Speaking on the need for parents to hearken to their wards, the Vice Principal, Agwuna Nneka, said that the Rotary Club in Abuja in collaboration with the Fire Service had done an immense job in creating fire safety awareness to the students, also stating that the students should be heard when they take their knowledge back home.