The Fire Protection Association of Nigeria (FPAN) has advocated a paradigm shift from a reactive to a proactive planning philosophy for effective and proper emergency-response operations in the country.
The association made this known in a 12-point communiqué issued at the end of its Annual Conference/Investiture of Fellow Award 2016 held at Equity Resort Hotel, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun state, from September 20 to 22.
The three-day event themed, “Towards Effective Co-ordination and Management of Fire Prevention and Emergency Preparedness for Security of National Economy” had the presentation of 5 technical papers.
In his welcome address, the President of FPAN, Mr Fatai Rotimi Fashola, expressed delight on the year’s conference, adding that he hoped the conference communiqué would help to move the nation forward in the area of fire safety and response to emergencies.
The communique read in part, “Conference noted that there is a role conflict in managing emergencies in Nigeria arising largely from power and influence peddling amongst the agencies. The primary responsibility of NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) is to ensure effective coordination of the Emergency responders.
“Conference noted the lack of proactiveness in planning for Emergencies in the country. This has led to difficulties in proper management of rescue operations.”
It further noted that the fire services across the country were poorly funded and ill-equipped, giving rise to inadequacies in intervention and capacity building.
Also, the conference identified lack of synergy amongst law enforcement agencies in the management of fire and other emergencies, especially in the areas of crowd control, rescue, evacuation and others, as a major problem facing emergency response operations in the country.
“Conference noted that losses arising from fire incidents in the country are on the increase and strongly believe that this is largely as a result of weak systems and structures for the management of fire incident in the country.
“Conference noted that the insurance industry in Nigeria is facing a lot of challenges due mainly to poor risk assessment leading to poor pricing, poor risk treatment and lack of effective monitoring,” the communiqué stated.
The association also recommended measures and strategies that could be adopted to address the many issues it raised.
“NEMA should ensure proper and effective role separation in emergency operations. Individual agencies in the area of fire and other emergencies should always restrict themselves to their defined roles and responsibilities.
“Emphasis should shift from a reactive to a proactive philosophy. Proper planning of emergency operations should be the focus for effectiveness in response operations.
“Governments and decision makers on fire and other emergencies should budget properly and ensure that the right equipment and the capacity for emergency operations are assured.
“The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) should ensure an effective co-ordination for proper synergy amongst all responding agencies.
“The Federal Government’s committee’s report of 2012 on the restructuring of Fire Service in the country should be urgently revisited for implementation.
“Insurance companies should ensure that there is proper and effective assessment and treatment of risks in their portfolio,” the communiqué said.
The event also saw the investiture of 19 members of the association as fellows.
The members include: President of FPAN, Mr Fatai Rotimi Fashola; Vice President of FPAN, Dominic Aigbogun; General Secretary of FPAN, Prince Adekunle S. Aderemi; Mr Sina Elusakin; and Olootu Jaiyesimi Adekunle.
Others are: Mr Festus O. Apoola; Rev. Uwem Mike Udonquak; Engr. Jacob Adeosun; Mr. Soji Oni; and F.A Bello.
Also on the award list are: Mrs Mary Amaka Okoliko; Engr. Peter O. Onyeri; current Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Razak I. Fadipe; and former Directors of Lagos State Fire Service, Mr Olatunde Afoke and J.A Ajose.
The award list also include: FPAN Chairman, Port Harcourt Branch, Mr G.E. Kaizer; Mr Samson Ayoola; ACGF Liman Ibrahim; and Engr. Amaka Oramadike.
The association also paid tributes to two of its past presidents: late Mr Yinka Lijadu, MON and late Mr Remi Olowude, OON. Lijadu was FPAN President from 1978 to 2009 and Olowude held the position from 2009 to 2014.