By Kelechi Ogunleye
Abuja – The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Fire Service, says it will embark on a sensitisation campaign on fire safety best practices in 600 public and private schools across the territory.
Julius Opetusin, Assistant Comptroller-General, made this statement during the launch of the ‘FCT Fire Safety Schools Enlightenment Initiative’ in Abuja.
He said that the service was aimed at achieving this through its collaboration with the Fire Fighters Magazine, FCT Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) and other of its joint partners.
“This campaign is with a view to educate, equip and prepare students with rudimentary and basic knowledge of fire safety best practices, fire hazards and fire prevention.
“They will also learn the fire protection and equipment handling amongst others as a part of our corporate social responsibility as we embark on aggressive enforcement of the National Fire Safety Code in FCT,” he said.
According to him, the initiative was a ‘Catch them Young’ fire safety and prevention awareness program and an approach to dealing with the menace of fire disasters and other related emergencies in the society through a schools outreach programme.
“There is no doubt a tremendous need for kids and teenagers at both primary and secondary school levels to be acquainted early in life with life-saving and general safety practices.
” This will provide activities and support for them during and after school hours,” he said.
Minister of the FCT, Alhaji Muhammad Bello who was represented by Umar Shuaibu said that although fatalities from schools fire was rare in the FCT, the lives of students and staff could be in great danger in the case of a fire incident.
“With the trend in kidnapping as recorded in most schools in the country today, this has necessitated our search light and to consider this initiative very apt at this auspicious time.
“The fire service has decided to step in to bridge this gap with information gathering by establishing fire safety clubs in Nigerian schools.
“This will help their sister agencies to stem down carnage of kidnapping especially in soft spot areas like our educational institutions,” he said.
Bello assured Nigerians that in line with the initiatives of this campaign, the administration will work towards ensuring that every school in the FCT has a fire safety measure as part of its overall emergency plan.
“We will ensure that these plans will include details as regards fire alarm procedures, building floor plans, staff and students duties in a case of fire emergency as well as exit fire drills,” he said.