understanding emergency preparedness: the role of fire services


Engr Quintus Azogu

In recent times, there has been a relatively consistent upward trend in the impact of varying forms of disasters around the globe and Nigeria is no exception. Rising populations especially in urban areas, increasing private investments in fixed capital infrastructure, the complexity of critical infrastructural interconnections, and the impact of climate change in producing more extreme meteorological events all cumulate to drive this trend. The trend therefore has propelled emergency preparedness from a recherché concept to a vital discipline, one in which an increasing process of professionalization is required.

The maintenance of public safety, limitation of damage, protection of the vulnerable, and efficient use of life-saving resources are some of the goals of emergency and disaster preparedness which is a coordinated plan to match urgent needs not only with available resources but even more importantly with the right skills and professional standards. In addition, appropriate plans are also needed not only for responding to the impacts of disaster, but also to maintain business continuity while managing the crisis, and to guide recovery and reconstruction more effectively.

Good emergency plans therefore are realistic as well as pragmatic. For instance, there is no point in making arrangements to use resources that are not available and are not likely to be supplied within a useful time frame. Essentially, emergency preparedness plans should be seen to take account of both the limitations and the capabilities of responders especially in terms of the availability of required resources hence, the need for adequate government/public support for planning initiatives and participation by a wide variety of responders including technical experts and of course the citizens. But even more important is the need for agencies like the Federal Fire Service and State Fire Services which are the first responders in disaster management to as a matter of priority be readily enabled at all times in terms of capacity and infrastructure.

This potpourri has informed the repeated calls from various quarters for the standardization of the nation’s fire service to be able to deal with emergencies in real time as alluded to by the Controller General of the Federal Fire Service, Dr. Ibrahim Liman at the commissioning ceremony of 12 newly-procured firefighting trucks by the Federal Government recently in Abuja. Similarly, the Honourable Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola during his familiarization tour to the Federal Fire Service headquarters in Abuja promised to attend to the immediate needs of the service by providing adequate support to the agency’s growth.

Also in this edition, we x-ray the 10th National Council on Fire Conference held in Illorin, Kwara State between the 5th and 8th August, 2019 with the theme: “Technology: An Imperative for Enhanced Service Delivery in the Fire Sector”. The conference explored the use of technology to enhance fire safety delivery and economic growth in Nigeria as well as identified modern firefighting as heavily dependent on technology which in turn positions the economic growth of any nation.

While putting emergency preparedness for public safety in perspective, the cache remains that disasters are limited only by preparedness. Also included in the November 2019 edition of Fire Fighters Magazine are tit bits from the states, private sector and interesting capacity building articles for your reading pleasure.

 

Engr. Quintus Azogu,

Editor-in-Chief, Fire Fighters Magazine.

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