FEMA reduces response time to emergencies to 3 minutes in FCT – Official

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By Philip Yatai

The Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says it has reduced its emergency response time from five to three minutes to reduce casualties and save lives and properties.

Mrs Florence Wenegieme, Director, Forecasting, Response and Mitigation, FEMA, made this known during a sensitisation campaign to commemorate the 2023 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction in Abuja on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the sensitisation was carried out at Bwari Area Council Secretariat, Abuja and the Palace of Esu Sa-Bwaya of Bwari (the Chief of Bwari), Ibrahim Yaro.

The sensitisation with the theme, “Fighting Inequality for a Resilient Future for All” began on Oct. 4 across the six Area Councils of the FCT.

Wenegieme explained that the three minutes response time became faceable after training community structures to serve as first respondents to emergencies in their various communities.

She identified the community structures as local divers, emergency vanguards, disaster marshals, town criers, volunteers and other structures like youth and women groups.

She said that the community structures have been adequately trained on emergency response through drills and simulations to equip them with the needed knowledge and skills.

The director added that FEMA had equally procured power bikes for the agency officials to navigate the Abuja traffic and reach the emergency scene within three minutes.

According to her, emergency management is multisectoral and everyone’s business, including school going age children.

“Community members are usually the first respondents to an emergency because it happens within their community.

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“They have been adequately trained to know exactly what to do during emergencies and rescue operations before FEMA officials arrive.

“This quick response will ensure that more lives and properties are saved,” she added.

Wenegieme explained that the awareness campaign was to ensure that residents identify disaster risk in their respective communities and know how to prevent and mitigate disasters to reduce the impact.

She added that sensitising community members was critical to ensure that no one was left behind during emergencies.

She particularly stressed the need for community members to pay attention to vulnerable groups like children, pregnant women, the blind, the aged, and people living in disaster prone areas.

Responding, the Esu of Bwari Yaro promised to cooperate with FEMA in driving the disaster risk reduction messages to every household in Bwari area council.

Earlier, the Council Chairman, Bwari Area Council, Mr John Gabaya, said that the council has inaugurated its Local Emergency Management Committee to respond to emergencies at local level.

Bagaya, who was represented by the Council Secretary, Me Eli Kadanya, said that the council had taken proactive measures against hazards to avert disasters.

He explained that part of the measures included clearing of refuse, desilting of drainages and sensitization of residents against building on water wars and follow prone areas.

He assured FEMA of the council’s support in ensuring that community members were enlightened and mobilised to take action against disaster. (NAN)

Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi

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