• Kiambu will be the first devolved unit to host such an academy
• County has 85 firefighters, official says they are not enough
Kiambu county government is concluding work on a Sh21 million firefighting academy at its fire station in the Indian bazaar.
County fire officer Samuel Kahura said the academy will be operational next January.
“That is when the academy will open doors to new students who will be trained in firefighting,” he said.
The facility on which the academy will be based was refurbished with funding from the Polish Centre for International Aid last year.
Kiambu will be the first devolved unit to host such an academy.
Kahura said the creation of the academy will also boost the confidence of investors since they will be assured their property is safeguarded from fire emergencies.
The county is served by four stations of Thika, Ruiru, Kiambu and Limuru subcounties which the official rated as efficient in arriving at fire scenes.
He said the 85 firefighters in the county are not enough to work 24 hours as is required.
“These people man the four stations and considering that we work for 24 hours, we are lean on the ground and we overwork,” he said.
He, however, noted that the number did not discourage them – they arrive at fire scenes in the shortest time whenever after an alarm is raised.
On the recent fire at a supermarket in Ruiru town, the fireman said the department was called at 2am after the inferno was spotted from outside.
“When you consider the items stocked in a supermarket like oil, mattresses and such like things that fuelled the fire, by the time smoke was spotted billowing from outside, it was too much but we managed to contain it after firefighters from Ruiru, Kiambu, Thika, Nairobi and ICT in Thika battled the fire.”
Kahura clarified that the firemen did not have any problem with water as “we have 110 hydrants within the county which have water throughout".
Early last week, another fire at Bureria Estate in Ndumberi was extinguished within minutes.
The fire started on the 6th floor of a residential flat and the alarm was raised after a girl screamed from the affected house.
Previously, Kiambu county has hosted various training for firefighters from other counties. Its firemen were trained in Poland under a partnership with the Polish Centre for International Aid.
Completion of the new centre will, therefore, further improve the skill and cost of training prospective firemen.
Edited by R.Wamochie