REFLECTIONS ON THE GAMBIA FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

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To: The Relevant Authorities

I would like first and foremost to congratulate the President and the new government for the resounding a victory during the December 1, 2016, President Elections. BRAVO TO THOSE WHO VOTED FOR CHANGE.

I intend to draw the attention of the new government to the Gambia Fire and Rescue Service: personnel, equipment and facilities. This might help decision makers take into consideration the department in the transformation of the Gambia into an envious state among states. Fire Service is as important as any other government institution because it is completing the efforts of government, all and sundry in the provision of emergency services: fire fighting, rescue, road traffic accidents among others. Everybody everywhere is at risk of either one of the above mentioned emergencies therefore building the capacities of personnel and providing them with adequate equipment and facilities will go a long in the effective and efficient service delivery and in keeping the Gambia safe not only for the citizen but investors and their properties as well. WHO IS NOT AT THE RISK OF FIRE, ROAD AND SEA ACCIDENTS OR OTHER TYPE OF EMERGENCIES?    

The most important to consider and I believe and hope many people will concur is the introduction and enactment of FIRE SERVICE ACT by the National Assembly and accented to by the President of the Republic. The Gambia Fire Rescue Service is established in the Laws of the Gambia (under the Police Act) but an act of the National Assembly will further empower and better mandate the department to implement PREVENTION and PROTECTION which will lead to the ultimate effective and efficient RESPONDING.

The development process, telephone and water service among others need to be regulated in relation to emergency service delivery. The development/building regulations recognize some functions of Fire Service (particularly the public institutions regulations), the information act states the provision of emergency telephone services, the water act provides for the provision of water for emergency use all of which are inadequate for EMERGENCY SERVICE PROVISION. Introduction of an act will pave way for the department to work closely with relevant stakeholders for effective and efficient service delivery.

Allow me suggest a section/clause such act may take into consideration: in case of road maintenance, the National Road Authority shall notice the Fire Service Department at least (specified time period given) prior to the closure and commencement of such road work to enable the department to assess the alternative routes to public places and high risk areas to the nearest fire station(s). This shall relieve the responding crews from criss-crossing streets looking for access route to the fire scene while fire victims wait in agony.

Risk and health allowances will not only encourage the personnel of the department but will motivate other Gambians to venture into this risky National duty. Image the risks involved in fire fighting and other emergency operations such as well, toilet and sea rescues. There are few fire fighters who suffer injury, burnt in active service though I don’t know how much compensation they enjoyed/are enjoying but such allowance will go a long in the lives of our fire fighters.

The new government should include purchasing new and proper fire fighting vehicles in their long term programs because the former government purchased fleets of fire fighting vehicles based on attraction (political attraction). This is because most of those vehicles cannot be used on our road network (not to talk of certain streets). The purchase of firefighting equipment should be based on technical expert advice (if the former president was advised who would have advised him to purchase such vehicles).

Finally I am appealing to the authorities to take a close look at the Department and provide technocrats to transform the Department (management/administrative issues). There should be a human resources unit in the Department to be advising the leadership on human resources: recruitment, appointments and promotions and retentions. The Department is threatened with attrition and brain drain to other institutions and the so called BACKWAY. There are staff at the Department who could be better utilized for the achievement of the overall short and long term goals. Experience is important and perhaps the best for some but the 21st Century realities cannot be divorce from education/knowledge.

Long Live Gambia Fire and Rescue Services

Long Live The New Government

Long Live The New One Gambia

Long Live The President of The Republic of The Gambia

From a Concerned Citizen

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