• The Sh63 million centrE will serve Karuri, surrounding municipalities and Nairobi County to ensure timely and efficient disaster response.
•Kiambu will be the first devolved unit to host a firefighting academy.
Kiambu County has launched an ultra- modern fire and disaster management centre.
The Sh63 million centre is situated on Banana-Muchatha-Ruaka-Nairobi road in Kiambaa Constituency.
The works were undertaken by the World Bank through the sustainable urban mobility project.
Governor James Nyoro said the centre will serve Karuri, surrounding municipalities and Nairobi County to ensure timely and efficient disaster response.
It will hold a capacity of 50 fire and rescue officers. The disaster response centre will also be tasked with rescuing victims of road accidents and other emergencies.
"People have been dying during accidents because the people responding don't even know how to handle an injured person, we have to protect the sanctity of human life," said the governor.
Karuri area has recorded a recent rise in fires, flooding and collapse of buildings due to the increased population pressure. In the last year alone, there have been some 30 reported disasters.
There has also been a demand for fumigation due to Covid-19 pandemic in the entire Kiambu County.
Following this, the centre will ensure effective emergency response time, fire safety and audit, training of fire officers, divers, paramedics, first aiders and installation of fire hydrants.
It will also serve as a training centre for basic firefighting skills, divers, paramedic and also first aiders who would give services to these areas in case of a disaster.
“To modernise the centre further, the county government will equip the centre with dormitories, fire engines and a GIS system to ensure 24/7 tracking and response of disasters countywide,” Nyoro said.
He added that there was need to invest in a modern disaster management facility that would serve the entire municipality, neighboring municipalities and Nairobi City County in case of a major disaster.
The governor thanked the Government of Poland for funding the firefighting academy at its fire station in the Indian bazaar.
Kiambu will be the first devolved unit to host such an academy.
The county has 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 in Thika, Ruiru, Kiambu and Limuru subcounties.
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.
Munga Kuria, the Karuri municipality manager, said they have received a total of Sh233 million where they have done projects on roads street lighting and improving solid waste management.
“Before we undertake any project we make sure that we conduct public participation so that the projects being undertaken are initiated by the public. The public requested for a fire station since there was a rising problem of fire within Ruaka, Gacharage Gachie and other areas and they had to wait for fire engines from Limuru, and kiambu towns,” said Munga.
Munga said that the fire station includes modern fire engines, a fully equipped ambulance, a gym, offices, board rooms, training area for first aid, dormitories, GIS system, storage and kitchen.
Members of the county assembly that represent the various municipalities have said the projects will help residents to access various areas easily due to good road network.
“The roads being done are up to standard and will help motorists access their destinations easily, the roads will also spur economic growth whereas the fire stations will also employ more people,” said Anthony Ikonya, Kiambu town MCA.
Peter Njoroge, MCA Karuri Ward, said the improvement of infrastructure in the area will attract more investors especially when the environmental projects are complete, such as sewerage systems.
“There is a lot of migration to urban areas and Karuri Ward and it’s environs is fast growing and we need to fix the urbanisation challenges before there is too much congestion,” said Njoroge.
Similarly, the county government has commissioned the tarmacking of Kanjiku - King'othua road in Njiku area, Karuri.
The three kilometre road connects Limuru - Banana road at Raini and Banana - Ndenderu road. It also opens up Njiku, King'othua all the way to Muthurwa primary and secondary.
Speaking on behalf of the residents, Elizabeth Wanjiku noted that the road project is timely and will open up the market in the area and ease connection to surrounding towns.