Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Mustapha Ahmed, has expressed concern over incessant fire incidents in some communities and markets across the country in the past few days.
Ahmed, who expressed the concern in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja, called on all stakeholders to leverage insurance companies to safeguard their property and businesses.
He stressed the need for Nigerians to reduce fire disasters and all associated human and material losses across the country.
“Fire, like any other disaster, has been part of human existence, but the frequency and impacts of this in recent weeks has necessitated a serious concern and call for action by all stakeholders.
“In December last year, I had the cause to alert the public to the dangers of fire disasters during the dry season.
“As with the onset of the dry season, the present onset of the rainy season is also characterized by typical windstorms that easily propagate combustible matter in form of dry vegetation and agricultural wastes,’’ he said.
All these ingredients, according to him, constitute strong enhancers of fire outbreaks.
“The best firefighting technique is prevention. The best way to prevent a fire is to create awareness and develop a culture of safety and resilience among authorities, communities, and individual members of the public,” he said.
Ahmed called on State and Local Emergency Management Committees as well as the media to help generate and disseminate the right awareness and prepare the public for necessary responses to fire disasters.
“Efforts should aim at measures and procedures for averting fire outbreaks, early detection, and timely response to save lives and minimize damage and economic losses.
“All hands must be on deck to reduce fire disasters and all associated human and material losses across Nigeria.
“Government agencies, corporate organizations, private businesses, and individuals should endeavour to leverage insurance companies to safeguard and protect their property and businesses as a form of risk transfer in case of fire,’’ he said.
The director-general said that the main goal of NEMA and its partners was to save lives and property, stressing that no effort and resources were too much to commit to achieving this.
He said that all NEMA zonal and operation offices had been directed to work with the State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) to conduct joint assessments in communities affected by fire disasters.