By Kelechi Ogunleye
The Controller General, Federal Fire Service (FFS), Dr Ibrahim Liman, says the service has reviewed the national fire and rescue safety code to minimise fire outbreaks in the country.
Liman said this on Sunday in Minna, at the closing ceremony of a five-day summit on the review of the safety documents.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the documents reviewed during the conference include: Fire and Rescue Safety Code, National Fire Rescue Policy, Standard Operating Procedure and Federal Fire Service Rules and Regulations.
Liman said that the review was to block gaps is the guidelines and ensure that structural developers, builders, occupants of buildings or properties imbibe the fire safety regulations.
“In the code, buildings are classified and when they are classified, this will help you know the grade of materials to be used.
“The materials could be the wood, block, cement, paint or doors, because there are fire doors and paints which makes it difficult for a door or building to burn down.”
He said that the target was to reduce losses and protect investments.
He explained that the fire service standard operating procedure (SOP) review covered disaster management before, during and after, and the responsibilities of first responders during emergencies.
“When this is approved, every fireman will know the different types of disaster, disaster approaches and who is to lead in such disasters.
“So, everyone will be put on their toes as far as disaster management is concerned.
“The SOP isn’t only about firefighting emergency, but caters for over 100 other types of emergencies or disasters that are spelt out in the document,” he said.
Liman further explained that the fire policy had spelt out the responsibilities of state, local and federal governments in fire administration.
“We have rules and regulations which is how we check the conducts of personnel and the disciplinary committee will be like a court.
“When an officer commits an offense, the rank of the fireman will determine who is to try the offender.
“A junior officer can appeal to the CG, while a very senior officer can appeal to the honorable minister.
“When you appeal, another committee is expected to be set up to look at the case before a final decision could be taken.”
According to him, the fire service has been operating based on the Fire Service Act which only stated the composition and function of the organisation.
The CG, however, said that although the review of the fire policy, rules and regulations had been concluded, and the SOP adopted, work on the national fire safety code is still ongoing.
“Out of thirteen chapters, seven have been covered, but the committee is to sit on finalising the documents to produce a final draft copy.
“The legal department will vet the documents alongside senior retired officers and stakeholders before it would be submitted to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), then when it is approved, the country will have what is called a fire policy.”
The FFS boss said that the conference was allowed to be steered by senior retired officers of the service because of their knowledge and expertise.
“I am proud of what we have achieved here and will say the success rate of this conference is between 75 to 80 per cent,” he said.
The conference consultant, a retired senior officer of FFS, Mr Olisaemeka Madichie, hoped that there would be a follow up of the document after submission to the appropriate authorities.
“The disciplinary regulations will be sent to the board to make sure it does not conflict with the public service rules as there are some peculiar things to the paramilitary.
‘This will help improve service delivery of the fire service nationwide, because now there is a more definite direction,” he said.
One of the facilitators, retired Deputy Controller General, FFS, Quintus Azogu said that the review was timely, as the Act guiding the service was obsolete and needed a rejig.
He said, “We are here to assist and make sure effect is given to documents such as the national fire safety policy, national standard safety code and the fire service regulations.
“Having seen the huge investment and infrastructure stuck in the service by the Federal Government, we can only ensure that other components that will ensure effective fire service delivery is put in place.”
One of the participants, Ahmed Karaye, Assistant Controller General in charge of FFS Zone H, covering Sokoto Kebbi and Zamfara states, said details of the review will be made available to the over 150 firemen in the zone.
“I have learnt a lot because of the experts present; the importance of this training cannot be over emphasised.
“I will try to impart the knowledge first on the three states’ Commanders and will urge them to retrain all the personnel within the zone,” Karaye said.(NAN)