GUSAU- 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 News Agency of Nigeria (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.
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)