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New Anambra Fire Chief Recounts Progresses, As Agency Marks Int’l Firefighters’ Day

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By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The new Fire Chief of the Anambra State Fire Service, Engr. Emmanuel Chiketa has said the agency is currently making progress in its firefighting mission and educating the public on fire safety measures in the state.

Engr. Chiketa disclosed this on Saturday while addressing newsmen at the Headquarters of the State Fire Service in Awka, on the occasion of the 2024 International Firefighters’ Day (IFD).

The event saw the state’s firefighters embark on a roadshow in the capital city, to enlighten the public on fire prevention mechanisms and strategies.

Speaking shortly after the roadshow, the State Fire Chief, Engr. Chiketa, described International Firefighters’Day as a day set asides to remember and honor the sacrifices of firefighters, as well as commemorate and celebrate those who have died, retired, or are still actively serving in the firefighting profession.

He also dissected the theme of this year’s event, “The Importance of Fire Prevention and Safety in a Contemporary Society”, which, he said, is very significant in emphasizing and reminding the public of the significance and critical role of safety and fire prevention in saving lives and protecting property.

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Engr. Chiketa, who recently assumed office as the State’s Fire Chief further highlighted some of the efforts and feats so far recorded in firefighting by the agency under his watch. These, he said, include facility tour, sensitization programs, and safety awareness campaign in various institutions, including schools and streets, among others.

He also added that plans are on motion to extend the campaigns and sensitization to the markets, the media, filling stations, gas plants, and other public places across the state, for maximum reach and impact.

While noting that their firefighting job has not been without some challenges, Engr. Chiketa, who said Anambra has very low prevalence of fire incidents compared to other states, further hailed the Governor Chukwuma Soludo-led Anambra State Government for the support and motivation received by the agency, which, he said, have helped make their works much easier.

The Fire Chief also assured Ndị Anambra of the agency’s commitment to their safety, even as he encouraged them to continue practicing fire safety measures in their respective localities and institutions.

Contributing, the Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Youth Development and immediate-past Fire Chief in the State, Engr. Martin Agbili, traced the origin of the International Firefighters’ Day to an Australian Firefighter, JJ Edmondson, whom he said, founded it in 1999, after 5 firefighters died tragically during a wildfire in the Australia, when the direction of the wind changed suddenly and engulfed them in flames.

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Engr. Agbili, who is also the Coordinator for Africa Continent for International Firefighters Day celebration, called on Ndị Anambra to accord his successor, Engr. Chiketa and the state’s firefighters every necessary support in doing their job; even as he further urged the people to always report fire outbreak to the Fire Service on time, adding that the time fire incident is reported determines the time the firefighters will arrive the scene.

He further warned against attacking firefighters, whom, he said, are not the cause of fire outbreaks but are only offering help and selfless services to the public.

This reporter, Izunna Okafor, gathered that, since its inception in 1999, International Firefighters’ Day is globally celebrated on May 4 every year to honour heroes who risk their lives to safeguard people and their property from fire.

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