- location:Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa
LNFS Graduates 57 Fire Fighters
The Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS) on last week Friday August 17, 2012 graduated 57 Fire Fighters to help boost the manpower strength of the entity.Speaking during the graduation ceremony at the Matilda Newport High School in Monrovia, the President of the Liberia Law Enforcement Association of Liberia Mr. Cecil Griffiths, who served as guest speaker said the LNFS is a critical component of the law enforcement agency of Liberia.
He added that the Government of Liberia needs to render the necessary support to the LNFS, aimed at making the entity capable to fight fire outbreaks in the country.
“If the LNFS is to fight fire outbreaks in the country, the Government needs to increase the budgetary allocation for this entity in that regard”, he noted.
He said the LNFS needs to be provided with modern fire fighting equipment, such as those used around the world in this 21th century.
According to the Law Enforcement Association President, in order for the LNFS to adequately prepare for the task ahead, the need for capacity building should not be overlooked, stressing: “Let me use this medium to appeal to our Lawmakers to see reason in increasing the budget of the LNFS.”
In addition to combating fire, Mr. Griffiths said, the bureau should always create awareness to community dwellers on fire preventive measures, pointing out that when this is done, the outbreak of fire incidents will reduce significantly.”
He then commended the LNFS for recruiting new fire fighters intended to boost the current manpower strength of the Fire Service.
For his part, the Director of the LNFS Varmah I. Malik also called on Liberians to support the LNFS in the fight against the numerous fire outbreaks around the country particularly in the city, as had been observed in recent times.
“We want you to always inform us when the fire has just started; don't wait until it is out of control before you can make a call”, he noted.
He recalled that from January to June this year, there have been about 129 fire outbreaks, which resulted into the death of 12 persons, property destruction, and which left hundreds of people homeless.
He said from the above statistic, there is a need for Liberians to fully support the LNFS in their efforts to reduce fire disasters in the country.
The LNFS Director named the lack of Fire Trucks, Fire fighting outfits and small gears (tools) including regular training as some of the major challenges facing the Fire service Bureau, the LNFS.
He said with support from government to provide requisite training for the fire fighters, the LNFS will make a great mark that will bring the institution on par with those in other countries in Africa and the world at large.
Speaking on behalf of the class, Susannah H. Varmah said challenges faced by the LNFS should not be left with the entity's authorities alone, but should rather claim the attention of the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for all national security institutions.
She further called on the Government to de-centralize the operations of the LNFS in the 15 political sub-divisions of Liberia.
She said over the years, the LNFS has been criticized by Liberians and given names such as “crown my king”, 'and six-four lay' among others.
“Let me be quick to say here that the reason why our men on duty play these games is because of the lack of logistics, to keep them ready and always make them alert at all times in case there is a fire call,” she emphasized.
She urged the Government to construct a training academy on the 30.7 acres of land acquired by Fire Service in Crozerville, Montserrado County where fire fighters undergo advance training.
During the six months training, the 57 fire fighters were taught basic fundamental fire fighting skills.
According to information gathered, the first fire disaster occurred in Monrovia in 1948 at a board-frame house in the block where the St. Thomas Episcopal Church is now located on Camp Johnson Road.
The incident led to the burning to death of three persons including a pregnant woman. So on November 4, 1949, the first batch of 30 fire fighters were recruited under the administration of President William V.S. Tubman and were called the “Monrovia Municipal Fire Brigade.” They played the fire fighting role until 1963, when a bill was enacted and passed into law creating the LNFS.
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