Disaster Preparedness is one of our national handicaps. And like any developing nation, disasters not only hinder growth but also retract progress made as well as sends off a warning message that makes investors shy away .
It is true our infrastructure is far from being proactive to such but we need the right mindset of our Planning, Treasury & Education Ministries. This need to be inculcated into our education curriculum. So that Students have fire fighting clubs or plug into existing clubs like scouts which have the mandate of educating their schools and communities on how best to improvise firefighting equipment, fire fighting techniques and fire contingency planning.
The Ministry of Education with all relevant disaster management partners can then have regular newsletters sent to these clubs. The clubs should be cultured to incorporate all levels of learning in the country.
This should also be a wakeup call to aspiring county governors to include disaster management content into their manifestos. As a nation and the greater East Africa we should be in the fore front in preventing fires and professionally containing them in their occurrence. It would also be prudent for Treasury to subsidize of zero rate tax on firefighting equipment. This would make it easier for homes, businesses, local government fire fighting departments, schools & other institutions to afford such.
Fires have a vengeance especially when fuelled by ignorance among other factors. Which such incentives then it would be wise to decree that every home/business/institution be equipped with firefighting equipment and have a schedule for fire drills.
Ministry of Public works then should move in fast to ensure any facility coming up has factored in firefighting provisions both in equipment and proactive surveillance. In developed world we have seen provision of firefighting piping even in the streets so that the issue of running out of water for the firefighting tankers do not arise. The tankers when called in starts extinguishing the fire while part of the crew plug into the piping provision nearby.
If we have done it with fibre-optic cable provision around all government building in town this with proper planning can be done for the whole of the nation starting with Nairobi CBD. Another proactive move would be for the City Council of Nairobi to fit GPRS fire detection units all over town so that as soon as smoke breaks a fire fighting crew nearby is dispatched to attend to this.
In this time and age our loved ones and investment worth fortunes should not be lost for lack of disaster preparedness. It is our mandate as citizens and government to ensure our homes, businesses, institutions are well prepared when faced by fires.