By FLORENCE ONUEGBU
LAGOS- Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Wednesday inaugurated an upgraded headquarters and three newly constructed fire stations, to tackle fire emergency in the state.
The upgraded fire service headquarters is located at Alausa, Ikeja; while the three newly constructed stations are situated at Ebute Elefun, Oniru and Ajegunle.
Speaking at the inauguration, held at Ikeja and Ebute Elefun, Sanwo-Olu said that the building and inauguration of the stations were in fulfilment of government’s commitment to the protection of lives and property of the residents.
He said that having more fire stations would ensure effective and timely response the fire emergencies in the state.
According to him, two years ago, a performance assessment study of all First Responders was carried out, where gaps responsible for limiting the effectiveness of their response to emergencies were identified.
”Our response to these identified gaps was not only proactive but very strategic, as we developed a road map that will address them and reposition the agencies for optimum performance.
”Specifically, one of the challenges identified was the inadequate fire stations for a growing state such as ours. As we all know, fire outbreak is an emergency that can only be prepared for, but the time, speed and scale at which it will happen cannot be pre-determined.
”This is where response time is critical as it can make a lot of difference between life and death.
”Therefore, to enable Fire Responders reduce the distance and overcome other unplanned encumbrances on the way to fire scene, the idea of having at least one fire station in each of the twenty Local Government Areas of the state was conceived.
”To this end, contract for the construction of six new fire stations in different parts of the state were awarded. Three out of these six fire stations that have been completed along with their headquarters are being commissioned and handing over today,” he said.
The governor said that the remaining three stations at Ijede, Kosofe and Ijegun would be completed and delivered before May 2023.
He said that the construction of new fire stations would allow quicker response to the scene of emergencies within their specific area of coverage, because proximity or nearness of fire stations to incident locations was very crucial to rescue and safety operations.
Sanwo-Olu said that the earlier the fire was attacked, the lesser the damage it would have on people and property.
The governor enjoined residents, especially those living around the locations of the new and upgraded fire stations, to take ownership of them and ensure their protection from attack or damage.
”They are provided with your taxes. They are your properties. Please protect them,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Mobolaji Ogunlende, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, said that the event was a milestone in the journey to rebrand and reposition the state fire and rescue service for improved service
Ogunlende said that the need for new fire stations was conceived to overcome the challenge of distance and quicken the response time of the Service.
He said that the target was to localise the presence of fire service stations in each of the 20 Local Government Areas of the state.
”With the huge investments made by the Sanwo-Olu administration in this sector, I am confident that Lagosians will begin to experience improved services from fhe fire and rescue service.
”I am also convinced that the officers are ready to justify the confidence reposed in the service by the administration,” the SA said.
Also speaking, Mrs Margaret Adeseye, the Director, Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, said that new station at Ebute-Elefun would serve an estimated population of over 1,353,600 residents.
Adeseye said the the Ajegunle station would serve an estimated population of over 2,256,000 residents, while that of Oniru would serve over 1,579,200 residents.
Oba Gbolahan Lawal, the Oniru of Iruland, Lagos, said that the inauguration of the fire station was a proof of Gov. Sanwo-Olu’s administration commitment to protect and preserve the lives and property of the residents.
Lawal said that for a long time, Iru Kingdom and its environs have had to depend on emergency response from the fire stations located in Chevron and Marina.
He commended the governor for approving the construction of a modern fire station in Iruland and utilising the land that was bequeathed to the state government by late Oba Idowu Abiodun Oniru in 2011.
According to him, a prepared community can make a huge difference during emergencies and help save lives.
In her remark, Mrs Rashidat Adu, the Chairman, Iru-Victoria Island Local Council Development Area, urged residents of the area to be safety conscious at all times.
Adu urged market men and women to always remember to switch off all electrical appliances at the end of business in the market, so as to prevent fire outbreaks, loss of life and property. (NAN)