, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 9 – Five days after the Nairobi County’s fire department was unable to respond to an inferno at Herufi house on account of having a single fire engine, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero has pledged to procure at least nine fire engines by the end of the year.
Kidero echoed the sentiments shared by Nairobi residents over the years that a single fire engine cannot be expected to cater for an estimated population of 4 million city dwellers.
“Obviously the situation is very very wanting because we do not have sufficient resources to fight fires. If a fire broke out the way it did last week at Herufi house, our response as an organisation would be very very wanting. We’ve taken stock and we’ve taken decision on what needs to be done,” Kidero said on Tuesday.
While giving a lack of resources as the reason for the inability to purchase more fire engines in the past, Kidero was optimistic that a grant from the Belgian government would make it a concern of the past.
“We are opening discussion on a grant we were going to get from the Belgians so by the end of the year we should have nine or 10 new fire fighting equipment. There are various types, there’s the one that uses plain water and there is also the one which mixes water with foam,” he said.
The governor said his government was already in the process of acquiring three engines that would complement 12 All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) fire fighters already in their possession.
“We have equipment which is like a motor bike. It doesn’t carry a lot of water; it carries about 200 litres. They are available but unfortunately they have not been commissioned. That’s why we have not been able to use them but they will be used in areas where the trucks cannot go into,” Kidero explained.
Kidero also promised to move the number of fire-fighters in the county from the current 105 closer to the recommended one per five thousand, “We will have better trained people and better collaboration with the national disaster office, the armed forces, private companies and the police.
The number of fire stations is also set to rise with Kidero planning to set up fire stations in Westlands, Imara Daima, Ruaraka and Baba Dogo. “We are going to distribute the fire stations all over the city. The proposal is that we do 26 but I think if we do 10 or 11 that should be quite sufficient.”
A revised city plan, Kidero said, would also help reduce the damage caused by fire by increasing accessibility to previously hard to reach places. “With the assistance of the Japanese government we are doing a comprehensive plan and this new plan should be ready late this year or early next year.”