The Controller-General, Federal Fire Service, Mr Olusegun Okebiorun, says Nigeria looses property worth N50 billion annually to fires.
Okebiorun announced this at a news conference to mark the 2013 International Fire Fighters’ Day observed every May 4.
The day was instituted after a proposal sent by email across the world on Jan. 4, 1999 due to the death of five firefighters in tragic circumstances in a wildfire in Australia in Dec 2, 1998.
May 4 was selected to mark the day because it used to be a traditional Firefighters’ Day in many European countries in memory of Saint Florian Patron, saint of firefighters.
The controller-general blamed the trend of losing property to fire incidents across the country on inadequate infrastructure and manpower in the service.
He said if the trend was reversed, the country could channel the resources being lost to fires into other development projects.
He said adequate manpower and infrastructure were necessary tools needed to attend to emergencies in the country.
He urged corporate organisations and governments at all levels to improve on their emergency response systems.
“I will like to call on the three tiers of government, especially state and local governments, to improve on fire stations within their jurisdictions.
“There is need for fire fighters to be able to respond adequately to emergencies as first respondents,’’ he said.
Okebiorun, who said the service lost 11 fire fighters in 2012, urged state governments to insure the lives of fighters in their services. [PMNews]
Okebiorun said the Federal Government was making efforts to put in place adequate measures to address challenges being faced by the fire service.
According to him, a Fire Academy has been established to train fire fighters to the level of competence.
He said a new National Fire Code would be made later in the month.
The controller-general said the code would enable the service to enforce fire regulations in homes, offices and business places.
Okebiorun said the service, in partnership with a private company, provided a smoke alert system in its headquarters to improve response to emergencies.