The Acting Director, FCT Fire Service, Engr. Sani Saidu has assured that his organization has adequate resources to combat fire outbreaks in the coming dry season, which begins toward the end of the year.
He made the assurance during a chat with a newsman in his office at Asokoro.
Engr. Saidu revealed that his organization has eight functional fire service stations in the FCT.
He also said that four other stations are coming on board. Among the four, two will be put to use before the end of 2021, and the remaining two will be commissioned in 2022.
He explained that the reason these stations are being put in place is to ensure the organization’s services get to ordinary citizens on time whenever there is a fire outbreak.
The Ag director said that in Britain every county has a fire service station that is connected to every house within the county. He explained that if there is a fire outbreak in any building in the county, it will signal at the fire station and they will dispatch fire fighters to the house. These fire fighters will go to the house and extinguish the fire even if the resident is at work. They will later contact the resident on the phone to go home as they have taken care of the fire outbreak in his house.
He said that the districts in FCT can be likened to counties in Britain and that his organization is making an effort to be of international standard in developed countries.
He explained that his organization has three major units.
1. Fire prevention and protection unit
2. Operations unit
3. Administration unit
The fire prevention and operation unit according to Engr. Saidu is saddled with public enlightenment. They let the public know how they can avoid a fire outbreak if it occurs.
They inform the public how to reach the operation unit when there is a fire outbreak, after using first aid fire equipment. It is during the application of first aid that they can reach the administration for assistance.
Another major unit, he said is the enforcement which is an arm of prevention and protection unit. They go about to sensitize the public on fire prevention matters.
Engr. Saidu said they can seal up premises of those who refuse to abide by the instruction of the organization on fire prevention.
To be able to function, the service has a well structured workforce. Engr. Saidu revealed that the service has a good human resources development plan. He said that when workers are recruited, they are given basic local training. He also said that workers are allowed to proceed to further their education on a part time basis.
He explained further that there are two basic ways a worker can upgrade.
1) Professional upgrade
In professional upgrade, the staff is sent on local training and the second one is international training.
The local training is the basic training given to a worker after recruitment. After some years in the employment of the service, such staff will go for junior officer’s course training.
He said that after some more years of service the employee will go for Fireman Certificate of Competency (FCC)
The staff has to work for some more years before going for the Advanced Certificate of Competency (ACC).
He said it is at this point that the staff will be sent abroad for international training. He explained that the essence of the international training is to compare if what they learn abroad is similar to what they have learnt locally. And when they get home they will marry what they learnt with what they already know. And the essence is to improve the service to the residents of FCT.
On the challenges facing the service, Dr. Saidu said finance is not part of their problems as the service is funded in two ways.
1) Operational funding
2) Overhead funding
He said these are geared towards putting fire equipment in order, so as to be proactive in discharging their duties. He said that the service is ready to contain any fire outbreak in the FCT. His words; “We have the needed ammunition as we call it (water) on ground. We are ready to combat any fire outbreak even though we don’t pray for it”, he concluded.