Sep 1, 2008, 8:16 AM
The Coordinator of the Environmental Builders and Youth Entrepreneurship Organisation (EBYEO) in The Gambia , Abdul Rahim Derek, has said that his organisation has so far sensitised twenty-one schools including three schools of disabled, in Region one.
Speaking to The Point recently at his New Jeshwang office along Ba-bun Fatty Road, Mr Derek said the general concept of his sensitisation programme was developed as a result of the demand and needs of school children, including the disabled, to be sensitised on safety preparedness on how to tackle disaster occurrences.
He said that in The Gambia floods and fire outbreaks form the greatest number of disaster occurrences, “which are man made and can be controlled if the general public is equipped” to know the practical aspects of preventing and managing them.
He said: “Our aim is to reach out to all schools in the greater Banjul area, and there are over three hundred schools in the municipality, which means we will need more support to undertake this task which we strongly believe is one of the preventive measures to reduce or control fire and flood disasters, increase the well being of our schoolchildren and enhance a safe environment to save the lives and properties of the general public.”
Disaster can befall anyone no matter his or her status, thus fire disaster can happen in our places of work and homes, he says, adding that the government “cannot do everything for everyone at the same time”.
He also calls on the people to play their role in their homes and places of work to control and minimize fire outbreaks and other disasters.
“If we must enjoy a safe environment around us, people must work together to complement the efforts of the Gambia government,” he said.
According to Mr Derek, the first three steps of preventing fire outbreak are that every individuals must know how to manage fire by placing candle or mosquito coil on an iron plate; every company, institution and factory needs to train staff and workers yearly on emergency response preparedness in their working environment; and every individual must have all the telephone numbers of the fire and rescue services in The Gambia in case there is disaster of fire so they can be called for help.
“Gambia is hoping for the best; if only the general public follows these steps, the number of fire outbreaks in 2011 will surely come down and we will have a happy home and safe working environment for all, “ he said, adding that EBYEO would not give up in their campaign but will continue from January 2011 until fire outbreak is reduced within the greater Banjul area.
Mr Derek also thanked the Kanifing Municipality Disaster Committee, the Fire and Ambulance Services, the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), Concern Universal and Banjul Breweries, for supporting EBYEO during its school sensitisation campaign.