Alarming rate of infernos!

Friday, February 08, 2019

The alarming rate of infernos in the country especially in the Greater Banjul Area and the Kombos serve as a reminder about the importance of taking safety measures to prevent them. Settlements in overcrowded poor installation areas with no accessible roads are quite prone to fire. Necessary precautions should be taken in ensuring proper wiring, keeping incense pots away from anything flammable.

Infernos are a major problem in The Gambia and in most cases it is as a result of poor and proper house planning especially in urban areas. Just this week, a violent inferno has wrecked havoc in Sanyang Kunda in Brikama Kabafita ward. Though no life was lost, but the raging fire engulfed a four apartment block, consuming valuable household materials, leaving the entire family in total despair.

Department of Physical Planning has a big role in making sure that landlords adhere to their safety planning rules to avoid fire disasters. There should be water hydrants in strategic locations in GBA and the Kombos to ensure easy access to water points by firefighters.

On numerous occasions, firefighters would put the blame on non-accessibility of water to contain fire at the right time. This reminds us about the importance of adhering to prevention and safety regulations. Landlords should be mindful of poor electrical installations.

Government also has a crucial role to play in ensuring that disaster preparedness remains a key priority. Measures to prevent or reduce the likelihood of fire must be taken in first place. Then come response and recovery. In places where the possibility of taking fire under complete control immediately is not possible, focus should be on saving lives and property.

We must understand that preparedness is not only about information; it is also about proper ways to respond in the time of disaster. Timely preparedness no doubt is the key to saving lives and property. Early warning systems and disaster risk information also play a crucial role.

“We cannot stop natural disasters but we can arm ourselves with knowledge: so many lives wouldn’t have to be lost if there was enough disaster preparedness.”

Petra Nemcova