Awareness against fire outbreak continues in Nyarugenge

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The Rwanda National Police (RNP) fire and rescue brigade continued its public awareness against fires last week where about 150 people in Rwezamenyo Sector of Nyarugenge District were given skills on firefighting.

The beneficiaries include head-teachers, clerics, owners of restaurants and bar owners and local leaders in villages in Rwezamenyo.

One of the duties of the RNP fire and rescue brigade is to respond to fire incidents, but also sensitizes all groups of people on the causes of fire outbreaks while equipping them with skills on how to use various gadgets and objects to put it out. It also inspects firefighting readiness in public and private facilities.

On top of firefighting roles, Fire and Rescue Brigade also conducts rescue operations, like people are trapped in a building, or when someone has fallen in a manhole, as well as in times of natural disasters like floods and landslides.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Jean Baptiste Seminega, the Commanding Officer (CO) of the RNP fire and rescue brigade, while speaking to the trainees, said that some fires result out of negligence and violating anti-fire outbreak standards.

“Some people use lay practitioners in electricity connectivity; these people have no training and they use their common knowledge and this may lead to short-circuit, which leaves houses and occupants at risk,” ACP Seminega said.

He added that at times fire outbreaks result from used substandard electrical equipment and overloading of electric gadgets.

“Some houses have old wiring systems that make them susceptible to fires; it’s imperative that you always inspect your electricity connections as part of the preventive measures,” he told participants.

He further urged them to acquire and install firefighting gadgets in their schools, restaurants, bars and office blocks in order to respond to likely fires.

Participants were also given basic skills on how to use fire extinguisher, water and sand to put out fire.

He, however, told them never to engage the fire when it’s out of their control and to always be quick to call the RNP fire and rescue brigade on toll-free lines 111, 112, or 0788311120 and 0788311224 for immediate response.

At least 100 cases of outbreak were registered last year claiming at least six lives and injuring five others, according to statistics by the fire and rescue brigade. 118 cases were reported in 2014 while 84 cases were handles in 2013.

Most of the incidents were due to careless usage of flammable substances, faulty wiring and reckless use of electrical appliances.

When the Fire and Rescue Brigade was inaugurated in 2000, it only had one fire truck and a handful of well trained personnel to respond when emergencies arose.

Rwanda National Police has since reinforced the unit by acquiring hi-tech firefighting engines, trained a considerable number of skilled personnel to fight and prevent fires.

In partnership with the local government, firefighting trucks have now been stationed at the regional level for quick response and the long term plan is to acquire and station these fire engine to the district level in partnership with local government.

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