In an effort to update and induct staff of fire response techniques, the Kiambu County Government has finalized plans to put up a Sh21 million firefighting academy at the Indian bazaar.
The County Fire Officer Mr. Samuel Kahura told KNA that the academy was almost complete and that it would be operational by January 2020.
“That is when the academy will open doors to new students who will be trained in fire-fighting,” he noted.
The academy has been put up on a facility of the County Government of Kiambu which was refurbished through the help of the Polish Centre for International Aid from last year.
Upon completion, Kiambu County Government will be the first devolved unit to host such an academy meant to train personnel in fire-fighting.
Kahura said creation of the academy will also boost the confidence of investors since they will rest assured that their property are safeguarded and would not go up in flames in case of an emergency.
The County Fire Officer told KNA that Kiambu County was served by 4 stations of Thika, Ruiru, Kiambu and Limuru sub-counties whom he rated as efficient in arriving at fire scenes.
He further revealed that the county was being served by 85 fire-fighters who he said are not enough to work within 24 hours as is required.
“These people man the 4 stations and considering that we work for 24 hours, we are lean on the ground and we overwork,” he said.
He however noted that the number did not discourage them from working and added they arrive at fire scenes within the shortest time whenever an alarm was raised”
While referring to the recent fire at a supermarket in Ruiru town, the fire officer said that the fire department was called at about 2a.m after the inferno was spotted from outside.
“When you consider the items that are stocked in a supermarket like oil, mattresses and such like things that fueled the fire to spread so fast, by the time smoke was spotted billowing from outside, it was too much but we managed to contain it after fire fighters from Ruiru,Kiambu,Thika,Nairobi and ICT in Thika battled the fire.”
Kahura clarified that the fighters did not have any problem with water as “we have 110 hydrants within Kiambu County which have water throughout for use in case of a fire outbreak.”
Early last week, another fire at Bureria Estate in Ndumberi location was extinguished within minutes after fire fighters from Kiambu County arrived at the scene promptly. The fire which had begun on the 6th floor of a residential flat was put off through the quick action of fire-fighters from Kiambu Fire station who responded promptly after an alarm call by neighbours who responded to the screams from the house girl in the affected house.
Previously, Kiambu County has hosted various trainings for fire fighters from other counties after their own were trained in Poland through partnership of Kiambu County Government and the Polish Centre for International Aid.
Completion of the new centre shall therefore further improve the skill and cost of training prospective freshmen in the field.
By Lydia Shiloya