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Nyeri residents trained on emergency fire response

Nyeri residents have benefited from a one-day sensitization drill on emergency fire response.

The Nyeri Fire Department says that drill was necessitated by low awareness levels among the public on what to do during fire emergencies.

The session was held at the Whispers Park Nyeri during celebrations to mark International Fire Fighters Day where residents received first-hand information and skills on what to do in the event of fire. Fire fighters also mounted an exhibition of their fire-fighting tools and also gave a demonstration of the evacuation procedure.

Speaking during the event, the Chief Officer, department of gender, youth, sports and social services, Joe Gethi challenged the participants to arm themselves with emergency response skills.

He noted that most of the fire incidents they have had to respond to this year were majorly caused by the inability of the victims to manage small fires which had eventually degenerated into major fires due to negligence and carelessness. He cited unprofessional electrical installations, fires started by children who are often left alone in the house and unattended rubbish fires as the major causes of fire emergencies in the county and urged the residents to be more cautious.

“If a person can manage and control small fires before they escalate, it will reduce the damage caused. In the event of a big fire or there is no firefighting equipment then it is safer to exit the premises and reduce the fire’s oxygen supply by covering it with a blanket or sand instead of crowding which only adds more casualties most of the time,” he stated.

The day was also marked with calls for residents to accord the first responders respect. The chief officer said that they had received incidents where fire engines had been vandalised and fire fighters had been assaulted by members of the public due to their response time.

“We need to treat the firefighters and medics and their equipment with respect, care and acknowledge the work they do. These lifesavers are still humans who chose this noble profession and we should work with them not make their work harder. These are people who already work in a complicated environment, destroying their equipment only slows them and makes their work harder for them,” said Mr Gethi.

Mr Gethi also decried the lack of compliance by households to the fire and safety regulations. He said that many houses lacked firefighting equipment, fire exits and also skilled personnel who can control small fires.

His sentiments were echoed by the head of the fire prevention unit in Nyeri, Nancy Njoki, who emphasized on the importance of having small fire extinguishers and advised the public on the importance of ensuring that entrances and exits are not abstracted.

“It is very dangerous to have a bunch of keys together with your house keys because in the case of an emergency you might not access it fast enough and end up being harmed in the house. Also fire extinguishers sizes are available in quantities as little as two kilograms so whether you live in a residential or rental, it is essential to own since almost every household uses electricity, a gas cooker or any other fuel which can cause fire accidents,” she advised.

International Firefighters Day is celebrated on May 4 each year to recognize and honour brave individuals who put their life in their line every day to save others. The celebration also provides a platform for first responders to sensitize the public on their role in fire emergency response and measures that the public can take before the fire fighters arrive at the scene.

By Wangari Mwangi


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