Harmattan: Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa upscale fire emergency response

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By Reporters

The Bauchi, Gombe and Jigawa governments have rehabilitated their fire services trucks to ehnace response to fire disasters and other emergencies.

Officials in Bauchi, Dutse and Gombe, who spoke in seperate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the measure was part of comprehensive campaign against fire outbreaks during the harmattan.

Mr Ismaila Misilli, Director General, Press Affairs, Government House, Gombe, said the state government had procured modern equipment for its fire service to enhance emergency response during harmattan.

He listed the equipment to include compound fumes for oil-related fires, rescue lines, safety kits, and uniforms.

This, he said, had significantly strengthened the Service’s capacity to respond to emergencies and combat fire disasters effectively.

“Gombe State has state-of-the-art firefighting equipment and well trained workforce in the Fire Service.

“The personnel are ready to respond effectively to fire incidents, the service has already activated its rapid response mechanism as Harmattan approaches.

“This proactive approach is to ensure that the Service is on high alert and ready to respond to emergencies.

“It is to ensure that the fire fighting team remains effective and up-to-date with the latest fire fighting methods,” he said.

Also, the Bauchi State Fire Service said it has initiated community sensitisation activities to create awareness on safety and preventive tips against fire outbreaks.

The Spokesman of the service, Mr Mohammed Bature, said the campaign was being conducted in collaboration with the Fire Safety Community Development Service of the National Youth Service Corps.

He added that the campaign was in line with Service’s preparedness ahead of the Harmattan, adding that, “we are here primarily to protect the lives and property of the people”.

According to him, the fire service will extend its outreach to motor parks, schools and other public places to sensitise the people on fire preventive measures, including during the harmattan.

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He said the Service has three operational fire fighting trucks while three others were being overhauled, with the Federal Fire Service providing backup during emergencies in Bauchi metropolis.

Bature added that the Service has functional fire fighting equipment in major towns in the state.

According to him, Gov. Bala Mohammed has approved the establishment of fire service sub stations in local government areas across the state.

Similarly, the Federal Fire Service in Jigawa has expressed readiness to contain any fire outbreak and other emergencies in the state.

The Command’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Jamilu Habibu, said they were on high alert ahead of the harmattan season.

“This is because we have re-strategised our activities, especially on operational issues,” he added.

According to Habibu, the fire service personnel are up-to-date in terms of handling the sophisticated fire fighting equipment recently provided by the Federal Government.

“Our fire fighting appliances can fight fire in a single building at three different parts.

“For instance, if there is a fire from the upper floor, downstairs and another part, we can respond to it at the same time,” he said.

He said the Service had deployed two units of fire fighting facilities to Hussaini Adamu Polytechnic, Kazaure, and Dutse International Airport.

“These units are combination of FAAN, Federal and State Fire Service personnel that could help in fighting any fire outbreak in the state, especially in Dutse metropolis”.

The FSS spokesman in the state also said they were conducting community sensitisation activities to create awareness on fire safety.

However, a Civil Society Activist, Imam Adam, said there was very low public enlightenment activities to mitigate fire outbreaks at the grassroots.

Adam therefore urged emergency agencies in the state to step up campaign to curb indiscriminate bush burning resulting to fire outbreaks in rural communities.

Also, a resident of Dutse, Safiyanu Gumel, said people should be cautioned against indiscriminate burning of waste in residential areas.

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He said that such activities have resulted to fire outbreaks and air pollution.

Another resident, Musa Ali, called for the engagement of the Civil Society and development organisations in the campaign against fire outbreaks in the state.

In the same vein; the Fire Services in Zamfara and Sokoto States have embarked on awareness campaigns on prevention of fire incidents during the harmattan.

Officials of the two services who spoke on their preparedness ahead of the harmattan, told the NAN that their target was to get the people fully aware of the devastating risk of mishandling fire.

In Zamfara, the Director-General of the State Fire Service, Abdullahi Dauran, told NAN in Gusau that the campaign was to make the people very conversant about safety measures while handling inflammable materials.

“It is better to prevent fire outbreak than to manage it when it occurs. Fire trucks cannot access some areas in case of eventualities.

“There are many areas that access to where fire occurs is difficult, and this is a hindrance to our men in quenching fire, such that sometimes it results to loss of live and property,” the DG said.

Dauran therefore urged every household to possess fire safety equipment in case of emergency.

“The absence of essential emergency fire control equipment often leads to devastating consequences.

”Some incidents get out of control before the arrival of state or federal fire fighters.

”We have fire fighting engines stationed in Gusau, the local government headquarters and some selected high risk areas,” he added.

The DG said though the state government has been supportive to the agency, it was important for market and transport unions, and institutions to also provide fire control facilities to compliment government efforts.

He said that residents should always reach out to the fire service in case of fire and other emergencies through 07066815196 and 08087310350 for prompt response.

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In Sokoto, Mr Nuhu Lawal, a Fire Prevention Officer, Sokoto State Fire Service said the agency has held critical stakeholders meetings on fire prevention and mitigation across the state.

Lawal described the harmattan period as the highest in terms of risks to fire outbreaks.

He therefore urged stakeholders and communities to be extremely careful in handling fire during the harmattan and at all times.

According to him, the service has so far responded to about 433 fire incidents and saved about N7 billion properties in 2023.

He added that the service has fire fighting vehicles in each of the 23 local government areas of the state, as well as zonal offices in the three senatorial districts,as well as some selected locations.

In his contribution, NEMA Head of Sokoto office, Mr Aliyu Kafindangi, said they have organised stakeholders meeting in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara to enlighten the people on ways to avoid fire disaster as the harmattan commences.

Kafindangi said NEMA also planned to hold road walks and campaigns in public places to sensitize the people on handling fire emergencies.

He underscored the importance of synergy between key actors in fire management and prevention in the state.

He state and federal fire services, the State Emergency Management Agency, National Orientation Agency, and security agencies, among others, must work together to tackle any emergency.

Kafindangi however lamented that states have not shown appreceable response to disaster forecasts issued by NEMA in the past.

He said governments should dedicate appropriate percentage of annual budgets as enshrined by law for effective disaster management.

The NEMA official added that emergency agencies should be set up not only at state and federal level, but also at local level to effectively respond to emergencies. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Reporters/HMH/RSA/MZA

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Edited by Rabiu Sani-Ali/Maharazu Ahmed

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