By Chinyere Nwoye  

Awka, May 9, 2021 (MOI) Managing Director, Anambra State Fire Service, Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Ben Chiobi says efforts are ongoing to deploy 120 trained men and women to about 16 fire service locations across the three senatorial zones of the state.  

The fire MD said in an interview shortly after marking the World 2021 International Firefighters Day (IFFD) with a theme: “Developing Safer And Secure Working Condition For Firefighters’’, at the Fire Service Headquarters, Awka.  

He noted that the state’s Leadership had since made it possible for a good number of Ndi Anambra to have the opportunity to serve in the State Fire Service.  

According to him, the IFFD in Anambra is unique as it has in the last few years witnessed unprecedented support from the state’s Leadership that ranges from increase in its workforce to acquisition of new fire trucks.  

“The fire service has witnessed unprecedented refurbishing of most of its fire fighting facilities, starting from the fire trucks to the fire stations that we have across the state.  

“The activities of the state government in fire service are in synergy with a theme of this year’s IFFD celebration as Gov. Willie Obiano approves fire hazard allowances for firemen of the state.  

“This is in addition to making vehicle mobility easier for them and the ongoing efforts to integrate security into the state fire service,’’ the MD explained.  

He, also, noted that the IFFD celebration had given them the opportunity to celebrate those who laid down their lives in order to save people from fire disasters.  

Group Captain Chiobi urged firefighters — men and women — of the service not to relent in their efforts but remain committed to putting in their best in their service.  

Director and Chief Fire Officer, Anambra State Fire Service, Mr Martin Agbili, an engineer, noted that while the IFFD celebration started years back, this was the 4th time Anambra State was celebrating the event.  

“We started in 2018 and we have continued until now as the day brought the world to celebrate firefighters for their dedication, sacrifice to honor them.  

“The public used the opportunity to say thank you to them for their selfless humanitarian services to the society.  

“When I took over the office, I promised myself that wherever there is a fire incident, we must go to the scene to fight and distinguish the fire even if we are not called in time.  

“We have been doing this from 2017 to date; the state government increased hazard allowance for service from what it used to be, goes a long way to encourage fire fighters,’’ Mr Agbili explained.  

He noted that the support from Gov. Obiano had given room for them to do more work to the expectation of Ndi Anambra and the public at large.  

“In 2019, most of our fire trucks were old but Gov. Obiano gave us brand new trucks and also repaired some of the serviceable trucks. 

“All these and the synergy we have with other security agencies such as the Police, Civil Defence and Road Safety; we have been able to achieve efficient service delivery,’’ he said.  

Mr Agbili, then, emphasised that the management and fire prevention was everybody’s business while firefighting was the fire services business.  

“If you have the knowledge, you can only do little at the initial stages of fire outbreak, but when it gets out of hand, you can never become a firefighter whose duty it is to fight and control fire to zero level.  

“I always tell people that what they owe fire service is to call in time; once there is a fire incident, do not wait for it to escalate to other parts of the structure before you call and we do not charge; our services are free of charge,’’ he said.   The Fire director while commending the state government urged people to ensure they have first-aid firefighting equipment called fire extinguishers at home, offices and cars as it was something that could be used in the immediate. (MOI)

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