By Aja Dahaba
The Gambia Fire and Rescue Services (GFRS) is suffering from lack of functional vehicles which is hampering efficient and timely intervention in fire breakouts in the entire municipality. The Bakau services is closed and there is only one vehicle at Serekunda making it the only Fire Service vehicle in the entire municipality.
Members of the GFRS are assaulted by affected fire victims and at some points their vehicles were stoned which contributed to some serious damages to persons and vehicles; officials told a stakeholders meeting.
The Lord Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) Talib Ahmed Bensouda in collaboration with senior officials of the Gambia Fire and Rescue Services (GFRS) recently held stakeholders meeting condemning the recent spate of attacks on personnel and damaging equipment of the GFRS by some members of the communities within the Kanifing Municipality.
The meeting was held at the KMC premises.
The gathering brought together stakeholders, Ward Councilors and religious leaders to sensitize members of their communities on the importance of Fire and Rescue Service especially in the execution of their duties.
The Lord Mayor of KMC who doubles as the head of the Regional Security Taskforce said the meeting cannot come at a better time than now.
Samba Jacob Jarju the Assistant Chief Fire Officer said fire men get all kinds of assaults during service delivery. He lamented that the challenges they are facing cannot be over emphasized.
Jacob complained that mobility is one of their major challenges saying they currently have only one vehicle in the entire Serekunda and sometimes there arises a need to be at two or more places at the same time.
“As am talking the Bakau station is close and the entire KMC have only one vehicle”.
The GFRS did not have enough hydrants and some of the streets are tight for their vehicles to fit in. He called on the physical planning and NAWEC to look into those matters.
Mr. Ahmed Janha Senior Fire Officer also said both the pass and present government have forgotten about GFRS saying the importance of fire service cannot be over emphasized as people rely on them in times of emergencies and therefore should be encouraged and protected.
“The vehicles we are using are not giving by any government, but bought by our partners in the Americas, even there capacities are not more than 12 barrels or 3500 liters and many of them are not even functioning”.
He said in any development there must be safety and security while saying their annual budget from government is small. In this vein he called on the government to look back at their department.
Muhammed Jaiteh Imam of Bundung central mosque and Imam Basiru Jawara of Latrikunda German mosque among other religious leaders all emphasized on the importance of the meeting.
They noted that they never knew fire service is facing such huge problems. They added they will sensitize the communities to stay away from such behaviors.
By Aja Dahaba