RNP raise fire outbreak alert
Rwanda National Police (RNP) has called upon the general population especially those residing in the remote parts of the country, to take necessary precaution to prevent incidences of bush fires, which are common in this period.
In an interview, ACP Jean Baptiste Seminega, the Commanding Officer of the RNP Fire and Rescue Brigade, said that cases of wild fires tend to go up in the months of July and August, citing littered lit cigarettes, honey harvesting and burning waste in the garden, as major causes of bush fires.
â€œIn July and August, which are months of the dry season, we encounter many cases of bush fire in the countryside and we call upon Rwandans to beware of their activities that involve use of fire like farming, honey harvesting and charcoal burning,â€ ACP Seminega said.
â€œOut of 84 cases of fire outbreak registered in 2013, 22 of them happened in July and August; 36 of the 121 cases registered last year were in July and August; most of these cases recorded in these two months are related to bush fire,â€ he added.
He further warned charcoal burners, especially those that encroach gazetted forests.
ACP Seminega also reserved message for owners of residential and commercial facilities to mind about the quality of electric cables they use.
â€œInvestigations have revealed that most fire outbreaks in houses are caused by short circuit due to substandard electric cables, although we have also seen a number of cases where candles left lit in the house, becoming the cause and at times claiming lives of people.â€
â€œRwandans should change their mindset; like you go to the market to buy clothes or food or buy bread, should be the same culture and spirit people acquire firefighting gadgets like fire extinguishers.
You cannot think about being smart, shopping food and forget to protect your life. Fire extinguishers should therefore be considered as a basic need in the house.â€
The City of Kigali is the most ravaged by cases of fire breakouts, according to police statistics.
Of the 84 cases registered in 2013, 79 occurred in Kigali; last year, 110 out of the total 121 cases were also registered in Kigali.
Between January and June this year, 49 cases of fire have so far been recorded of which 41 of them occurred in Kigali.
â€œRwanda National Police has acquired hi-tech firefighting engines, considerable number of skilled personnel to fight and prevent fires. Firefighting trucks have now been stationed at the regional level for quick response and our long term plan is to acquire and station these engines at the district level in partnership with local government. But all these doesnâ€™t mean that households canâ€™t take precautions,â€ ACP Seminega noted.
â€œWe are now involved in countrywide awareness campaign and teaching people how to put out fire using fire extinguishers and local materials like sand. We are ready to teach everyone how to use these gadgets, once they acquire themâ€¦let them just call us, because we believe this is another way of building the capacity and response against fires.â€
According to Seminega, the RNP firefighting team faces a challenge of facilities that have no access roads, which affects their response whenever such facilities are caught by fire.
He urged the public to always call police on toll free line 111, or 0788311120, in case of fire outbreak, for quick response.