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April 26 , 2019
By TEMESGEN MULUGETA ( FORTUNE STAFF WRITER )
The city's Fire Department is procuring 24 differently sized fire fighting vehicles for 161 million Br paid directly from the City Administration's budget.
Ten of them are large fire fighting vehicles, while the rest are small fire trucks that can easily access congested and narrow streets. So far, the Addis Abeba Fire Emergency Prevention & Rescue Agency has received five of the large fire fighting vehicles and is expected to receive the remaining equipment in a month's time.
The vehicles are imported from Europe and are equipped with the latest features. The handover ceremony is expected to be attended by Deputy Mayor Takele Uma.
The new trucks will be additions to the existing 40 fire fighting trucks, four machines, six water tanker trucks and 33 ambulances that are owned by the Agency, which has eight branches in the city: Piassa, Qera, Mesalemia, Saris, Aqaqi Qality, Bole, Kolfe and Gulele. Each branch operates two fire fighting trucks.
The Agency, which was established in 1934, is building the ninth branch around the Summit area. Reports say only water and electric power installations are left for construction. The new branch is expected to be inaugurated on the same day as the handover of the vehicles.
In the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, a total of 423 accidents were registered by the Agency in the capital and special zones of the Oromia Regional State. Addis Abeba took the lion's share of the total accident list, accounting for 70pc. These accidents caused 62 deaths and damaged 221 million Br worth of property.
Out of the total number, 299 are fire accidents, while the remaining are other types of emergency accidents. During these emergencies, the Agency has deployed 751 pieces of machinery, 349 ambulances, 42 pickup trucks, 5,638 firefighters and protected property valued at 2.9 billion Br.
Early last year, the Authority, which operates with 1,350 employees, procured 20 fire trucks at a cost of 133 million Br. It also acquired an excavator, six command cars and fire-retardant foam chemicals for 16 million Br. The delivery of these trucks was delayed due to a foreign exchange crunch in the country.
Anteneh Tref, who has ten years of experience in safety as a senior marine engineer, believes that the Agency has to give priority to training its staff.
"The procurement of the fire fighting vehicles alone can't make the Agency efficient," Anteneh said. "It has to be accompanied with extensive training of the staff."
In fact, the addition of the vehicles will strengthen the capacity of the Agency, but it also needs to increase the capacity and operational efficiency of their staff, Anteneh concluded.
PUBLISHED ON Apr 26,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 991]
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