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Majority of firefighters lack required skills, Says a fire expert

Inadequate skills and firefighting equipment have been termed as main impediments to managing fires calamities in the country.

Executive Director of an American Non-governmental organisation Mr. David Moore said in Kenya firefighters were not frequently trained thus lack needed skills to deal with fire incidents.

Speaking in Murang’a town on Saturday after closing a one week training session for fire fighters, Moore who heads Africa Fire Mission Organisation observed that from records, the government last trained firefighters 30 years ago.

The director said the sector lacks formal training and modern techniques in managing infernos adding that many counties also lack firefighting equipment.

“Some county governments have not procured firefighting engines and this forces them to rely on services from neighbouring counties or private firms at times of emergencies,” he remarked.

Low awareness among residents on how to handle fire incidents, Moore said, was another worrying trend.

He said after fire breaks out, many people were not aware of what needed to be done to stop it from spreading as they wait for fire engines.

“Some actions residents engage in may not control but instead help the inferno to spread fast. At times they are also not aware how to handle the affected people in terms of giving right first aid,” he added.

He explained that his organisation had been training fire fighters from various countries and facilitating them with the required equipment for the last six years.

“Africa Fire Mission has been holding annual fire academies to equip both fighters and the community with the knowledge on fire fighting and prevention since its inception in 2012,” noted Moore.

The organisation he said is working with key stakeholders to formulate a policy that will ensure there is a standardized curriculum for fire fighters, paramedics and Emergency medical technicians.

He said the policy will give proper guidelines on how the firefighters and other involved officers on how to handle fire incidents properly.

Africa Fire Mission has offices in Nairobi and works closely with Mission of Hope NGO, the Kenya Fire Brigade Association, Kenya Council of Emergency Medical Technicians and County fire departments.

During the one week training which was held at Ihura stadium, 16 counties participated with Meru fire brigade emerging the best in the firefighting competitions.

By Bernard Munyao

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