Incessant fire outbreaks: NEMA blames victims for neglect of safety rules

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By; Abdull-Azeez Ahmed Kadir, Kaduna.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has put the blame at the door steps of organisations and associations for their failure to abide by basic safety rules guiding the conduct of their operations and the enforcement agencies for failure to enforce the laws, for the incessant fire outbreaks at Filling Stations, markets and others.
Disturbed by the trend of such menace resulting in loss of lives and property, the agency invited the Federal Fire Service and other relevant stakeholders to a preparedness meeting to critically tackle and strategise means to mitigate the incidents.
The marathon meeting which was held at the Conference Hall of NEMA, North West Zonal Office, Kaduna, was attended by representatives of stakeholders from NEMA, Federal Fire Service, State Emergency Management Agency  (SEMA), Kaduna State Fire Service, Zonal and State offices of the National Security and civil defence corps (NSCDC), and Federal road Safety Corps (FRSC) among others in disaster and emergency management.
NEMA North West Zonal Coordinator, Alhaji Musa Ilallah said the meeting aimed at creating synergy among, between and within stakeholders on preparedness and in response to fire outbreaks in markets and fuel stations.
Illalh expressed the agency’s dismay over the inability of enforcement agencies to work according to the rules of enforcement.
According to him, most fire incidents were either as a result of this inability to enforce the laws, refusal of fuel stations and market owners to play by the rules or public ignorance and lukewarm attitude of basic safety rules.
The North West Zonal Commander of the Federal Fire Service in Kaduna, Mr. Biodun Obiesessan lamented the loss of lives and property recorded as a result of fire disaster which in turn jeopardise the nation’s economy.
He warned that the fire service has already mapped out strategies to seal erring fuel stations if they failed to adhere to rules and laws of basic fire safety standards.
A Communiqué signed after the meeting stipulated the activation of these ignored relevant  laws. Some of the laws contained in the communiqué are: NEMA, the Federal and State Fire Services, SEMA and other stakeholders should carry out public awareness and sensitisation campaigns against fire disaster in markets and fuel stations.
Fuel stations will be sealed for failure to comply with the standards specified in the national fire safety code. The fuel stations and the market places should encourage having a certified safety officer or trained personnel to serve as a first responder before the arrival of the fire service.
These places should endeavour to have fire hydrants or water reservoirs to serve as a prompt source in the case of fire outbreak.

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