By Salome MAJI
The Federal Government has approved the sum of 10.4 billion naira for infrastructure upgrade for the Federal Fire Service (FFS) to curb the challenges of fire fighting across the nation.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola revealed this in Abuja on Tuesday while speaking at the commissioning of seven fire fighting trucks and 20 ambulances at the Old Parade ground.
According to Aregbesola, “These equipment are part of the N10.4 billion infrastructure upgrade approved by the Federal Executive Council on March 3, comprising of 44 firefighting engines, 15 water tankers, 15 rapid intervention fire engines (not conventional ones) that can go into any nook and cranny to respond to distressed calls and 20 basic life support ambulances.
The minister who expressed confidence that the newly provided equipment would serve as an intervention for the long standing challenge of fire fighting added that it is first of its kind in the history of this country.
“As part of capacity building for officers of the service, We approved the training of 21 fire-fighting officers in the University of Civil Defence and Emergency Studies, Minsk, Belarus. The officers are expected to be master trainers for others on their return to Nigeria, he added.
Also, today we are here to add 20 brand new Basic Life Support Ambulance buses and seven firefighting trucks to our fleet to be manned by well trained, dedicated and committed personnel.
He noted that 2020 into 2021 has witnessed frightening fire incidents, ranging from markets to gas and pipelines fires around the country.
“Statistics at our disposal show that the FFS in 2020 to the first quarter of 2021 received 4,541 fire calls from which regrettably, 158 lives were lost and property lost is estimated at N41.5 billion.
“The good news is that the Service within the year under review also saved about 1,275 lives, rescue about 387 persons in distress due to fire and other related emergencies while saving property worth over N3.7trillion.
“The arrival of these new ambulance buses and trucks and their deployment to the various Zonal and state Commands would surely enhance service delivery of the Federal Fire Service during emergencies.”
Aregbesola commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the unparalleled support given to the Fire Service adding that the Service would forever be grateful to the present administration.