COMMISSIONING of 120 new fire fighters in Anambra by Governor Willie Obiano, Wednesday, couldn’t have come at a better time given the existing dry season which brings about incessant cases of fire in homes, bushes, factories and markets, among others.
WITH the recent upsurge in cases of fire incidents, which appears to have become a daily occurrence since January 21, 2021, there is no doubt that the work of the newly commissioned fire fighters and the entire firemen in the state has been cut out straight for them.
JUST two days before the commissioning, two apartments located at No.5 Ezeuchu/Ezeno Street, Nwakpadolu Avenue, Awka, were razed by fire, while about six cases of fire incident were officially reported between January 21 and 25 this year according to Police sources.
ONE filling station and a shop were burnt in Otolo Nnewi when a tanker loaded with gas caught fire while discharging its contents while six shops were burnt down at Owerri Road, Nnewi.
ALSO, one 87-year-old woman was burnt to death inside her apartment at No.5 Okumo Offordile Street, 33, Oyi Local Government Area, even as there are other places affected by fire at Awka and Onitsha areas, which resulted to loss of lives, injuries and destruction of buildings and numerous properties worth millions of naira.
MEANWHILE, common causes of fire incidents in the state, particularly during harmattan and dry seasons have been identified as bush burning, electricity sparks, careless handling of gas cookers, over s recklessness of drivers of trucks conveying inflammable goods and articulated vehicles with similar items, among others.
APART from these, there are dangers of fires breaking out from a lot of gas refilling stations that are springing up in many places around the state’s towns, not minding whether they are surrounded by bushes or close to residential buildings.
NDI Anambra are therefore reminded that they are at the peak of dry season which often tips the scale of fire incidents in this part of the country and that only proactive steps against personal and communal carelessness by stakeholders have the potentials of preventing and curtailing fire disasters.
THIS is why the government, including the men of the fire service should mount intensive sensitisation campaigns through adverts and Public Relations in various media to let the people realise the risk in taking actions that may trigger fire outbreaks.
FOR instance, people should be made to understand the importance of clearing the surroundings of their homes, offices and factories among others to avoid attracting stray fires. Hunters who set bushes on fire in order to smoke rodents and other kinds of bush meat, including hersdsmen who set bushes on fire to recreate new greenly for grazing livestock which in most cases, result in bush fires that spiral to destruction of lives, homes, markets, farmlands and stalls should be made to understand the many risks involved in such action.
EQUALLY, governments, stakeholders and fire service authorities should never get tired of enjoining residents of the state to always switch off all electrical appliances in their homes, business premises and various offices when not in use to avoid electric power surge.
NATIONAL Light believes it is high time the state looked at making stringent laws to deter people against bush burning to make people know they are putting the society in danger with such acts.
MOST importantly, Anambra State Fire Service, with the recent addition of 120 firemen is believed to have sufficient manpower and expected to respond promptly in emergency situations and be more efficient in the discharge of their duties.
THIS is because the state government, before the recent recruitment of 120 firemen, reactivated nine fire trucks, purchased additional new ones, authorised release of a range of vehicles, reactivated some fire service stations and directed an increase in salaries and hazard allowances of fire service men, among others and as a saying goes, “to whom much is given, much is expected”.
GOVERNMENTS and firemen in Anambra should equally work out ways to have boreholes of water reservoirs at strategic places in the state for easy.
ABOVE all, it is expected that with the new recruited firemen, semi-illiterate operators should not be allowed to handle emergency calls from desperate members of the public since most of them either fail to understand the mindset or psychology of the callers or do not have the capacity to get necessary information to facilitate their quick response.
WHILE we call for adequate orientation of all firemen to avoid abusing their work, ndi Anambra should learn to always show friendly disposition towards fire fighters rather than mob them on arrival at disaster scenes or obstruct their movements while in the course of discharging their duties.