ByÂ Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowopejo
Lagos Fire Fighting and Safety Services received a boost Monday when Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State commissioned 16 newly procured special fire fighting and rescue vehicles aimed at ensuring quick response to fire and other emergency situations.
The equipment included five rapid intervention fire vans, eight water tankers with 10,000 litres capacity and two Bronto Skylift/aeriel ladder vehicles.
The latest equipment is an addition to the first batch of 10 water tankers and one aeriel ladder vehicle which were also commissioned early last year.
Fashola while commissioning the equipment at the Alausa Fire Station Headquarters, Ikeja, said the rapid intervention vehicles would serve as a first responder to fire situations in difficult areas in the state before the arrival of the bigger fire fighting vehicles.
The governor said the unique feature of the rapid intervention vehicles was the easy access to narrow places because it would be easier to maneuver rough terrains
The foam truck, according to him, was solely dedicated to fighting chemical and petroleum based fire incident while the aerial trucks would assist in fighting fire in high rise buildings.
His words: â€œThis is our innovativeness on a short term. On a long term, we intend to return our state to compete with other cities and states by reintroducing fire hydrants back to our major roads and installations across the state.
â€œThe Ministry of Works, as our consultant, is already charged with the responsibility to put on their thinking caps on how we can put back our fire hydrants in strategic areas in the state.â€
Fashola also disclosed that plans were on to build fire service stations in Ejigbo, Abesan and Lekki areas in the state before the end of the year and urged Lagos residents to take precautionary measures to prevent fire situations to save lives and property.
On his part, Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Alhaji Babatunde Balogun, who also explained the importance and usefulness of the equipment, expressed optimism that the equipment would bring about a new vista for fire fighting in the country.
Earlier, State Director, Fire Service, Mr. Aderemi Ajose,Â disclosed that the equipment made Lagos the first across the federation to acquire the aerial trucks and appealed to Governor Fashola to approve the implementation of the Consolidated Para-military Salary Structure, COMPASS, for the state fire service personnel.