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Murang’a Assembly adopts a report recommending the construction of five new fire stations

The county Assembly of Murang’a has adopted a report recommending the construction of five new fire stations to ensure firefighting services are easily accessible by residents.

In a report on firefighting services in the county tabled before the House by Nginda MCA John Mwangi Kamau, it was revealed that the firefighting department has only three operational fire stations in different parts of the county including Murang’a town which serves as the headquarters, Kenol substation in Maragua Sub County and Kangari substation in Kigumo Sub County.

“The county is facing a lot of challenges when it comes to response time and suppression of all forms of fire outbreaks and other emergencies occurring in the county since the existing services are only available in major towns,” said Kamau, a member of the youth, gender, culture and social services committee.

Kamau said that the construction of the additional fire stations would mean that more sub-counties would have firefighting substations hence making services easily available to the locals.

“The department plans to expand through the construction of new fire stations in Kangema, Kahuro, and Mathioya in that order,” he said adding that in Kangema there is a vehicle ready for deployment and a building pending renovation and recruitment of staff to serve in the station.

The fire services department’s scope of work is to respond to numerous emergencies, which include fires, road traffic accidents, pit rescues, fuel spillage, landslides, and building collapses among others.

The majority of the MCAs passed the motion of adopting the report noting that the existing fire department is poorly equipped and recommended that the department include the procurement of five fire trucks, five hydrants, an ambulance, and a water bowser in the next financial year to improve the services.

“If the stations are fully equipped and have adequate personnel they will be able to discharge their functions efficiently and effectively,” he said adding currently there are two firefighting vehicles, one motorbike and three quadbikes, and 38 staff serving the department

He stated that the report observed that the department has installed 10 fire hydrants in strategic points within the county for water supply.

“There is a need for more points to refill the fire engines in order to minimize response time,” he said, adding that firefighting was the most visible function that is carried out under disaster risk management.

MCA for Kangari Moses Macharia while supporting the motion observed that there has been a lot of negligence in responding to fire emergencies noting that it is high time the department comes up with an action plan on how to respond to emergencies.

“These emergencies like fire are not something that we anticipate to happen. But when they do happen, emergency services should be coordinated by the firefighting department to benefit the people,” Macharia noted.

MCA for Mugumo- ini Alex Wanyoike while supporting that motion said firefighting services should be enhanced across the county and not only in selected towns.

He applauded the committee for the good work they have done in coming up with the report and gave an example of a disaster that happened in his ward to depict the need to fast-track the recommendations made on the report.

“Two men were buried in the debris in a mining site in my area where they worked. My efforts to reach out to the nearest fire station to offer rescue services which is kilometers away in Kenol town were futile,” he divulged adding that since Mugumo-ini is close to the neighboring Kiambu county, he opted to call Kiambu firefighters but due to the delay they could not save the duo and only recovered their bodies.

On his part, MCA for Kagundu-ini, Samson Mukora while supporting the motion said the proposed construction of five new stations is a good recommendation but only if the stations are fully equipped and competent personnel hired.

“The firefighters have in the past been arriving after everything has been consumed by the fire claiming they didn’t have enough fuel and water which resulted in massive destruction of properties and loss of lives,” he regretted.

The report recommended that the department conduct more community-oriented sensitization, capacity building, and volunteer training to increase awareness.

The report further recommended that the firefighting unit renovate all existing fire stations and equip them well.

By Anita Omwenga and Ivy Muthoni

 

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