By Idries Chaibhu
The Mpilo hospital Doctors have been twice caught unaware by a fire outbreak which robbed them of thier valuables this year. In addition, two houses in the Surburb of Killarney were burnt down beyond recognition in the face of the Bulawayo Fire fighting team in September this year. One located in Bothwick and the later in Scone Drive. As if it’s enough, two commuter private taxes were burnt to ashes in the CBD in a police and touts conflict by 6 Avenue on the 9th of June 2021 , bringing the stats to a more than 5 privates taxies being burnt this year. A vehicle in Masiye phambili drive caught fire , though the water tanker arrived timely as well wishers drove to the close by Nketa fire station to bring the fire brigade, it was a sad story because the engine pump failure was attributed as the reason why they could not put out the fire or let alone dispense the water. All these identified and yet to be noted fire accidents are happening in the existence of the four fire service stations in Bulawayo which are uncapacitated in all spheres from human resources etc. The machinery and the vehicles are too old for rapid response , some vehicles have even long surpassed their estimated years of use and should have been long disposed ref to the asset management policy. While the honorable solution will be to replace the vehicles , the City Council existing in financial exacerbation deprives them to engage capital expenditures, the least mitigation strategy is to at main stream the fire fighting system.
The city is advised:
- The city needs an active whatsapp number that can be used to send an active location to easily identify residential place in a case of a fire outbreak.
- Maintenance of fire hydrants and actively mapping the hydrant locations in the city and its suburbs , the gprs system will be handy in this. This will ensure easy access of backup water supply of Class A type fires.
- Publish home fire survival tactics and prevention of fires on the Website and community and wards group. Through pamphlets and fliers.
- Aid residents on how to report fire outbreak like stating the location, cause of the fire (in some situations water may not be ideal in putting out the fire), giving of contacts to the call centre , display of house numbers and use of fire extinguishing tools.
- Tackle water rationing and install community pressure boreholes.
- Partnering with Bulawayo Residents Association to train community fire fighters , so as to replace the brain drain.