At the event, the director-general of PURA, Yusupha M. Jobe said the causes of fire outbreaks in markets are hardly or instantly established but there is strong evidence that poor electrical connection, overloaded circuits, and lack of maintenance continue to pose the greatest risks.
During the sensitisation of the electrical safety and national wiring for market managers, electricians, and technical personnel wiring standards, Mr. Jobe said the forum aims to introduce innovative ideas with the view to harnessing shared best practices critical to safety precautionary measures relevant to modern electrical wiring and installation standards.
PURA as a regulatory body is mandated by the Electricity Act 2005, in sensitising the public on energy efficiency, electrical safety, he added.
Causes, he said the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the market fire outbreaks are multifaceted and critical.
Director Jobe recalled the past incidences of inferno experienced in The Gambia; saying those incidents resulted in the irreparable loss of goods and properties. Sadly, he continued, people’s livelihoods were decimated in minutes and their sources of income were cut off and families were traumatised forever.
He further implored the participants to have a thorough understanding of electrical safety and national electrical wiring standards to minimise and prevent possible market-related fires in the future.
The governor of Lower River Region, Rohey John-Manjang, expressed gratitude to PURA for the initiative.
“The forum is timely because it is not only to discuss problems and solutions but to put down measures that will be controlling the maintenance of the wiring standards,” she said.
Governor Rohey added that sustainable solutions are required to minimise fire outbreaks in markets and with such, Gambians should bypass illegal connections and apply for the National Electrical Wiring Standards.
“Fire outbreaks in the Gambian markets have damaged properties; ruined the family businesses, and causes irreparable damages to living and livelihoods,” she said, adding that standard measures must be taken because no matter how much support the victims of fire outbreaks gain, to recover completely is almost inevitable.