The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development is spearheading the advocacy for putting in place disaster risk reduction measures in public and private spaces.
The Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq made the call today while marking the 2020 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction which is celebrated all over the world on October 13.
According to Umar Farouq, the advocacy is to raise awareness among public and private organizations as well as the general public on how to prepare for and mitigate the risks of fire incidents in high rise buildings, high occupancy public and private buildings as well as workplaces and ensure that they have fire and emergency evacuation plans in place while practicing fire exit drills periodically.
“To demonstrate this, the Ministry, in collaboration with other first responders in disaster management, is organizing the first ever fire evacuation drill in the Federal Secretariat Building. The drill will take place on Friday October 23, 2020. This is because, in 2020 alone, Nigeria has witnessed over 20 fire incidents in both public and private buildings. Fire hazard is thus, one of the major disaster risks in Nigeria.
“The purpose of the fire exit drill slated for next week, is to ensure the efficient and safe use of the exit facilities available at the Federal Secretariat Buildings in case of an emergency. Such drills ensure orderly exit under control and prevent the panic that has been responsible for loss of lives in major fire disasters.
“While we are focusing on fire hazards today, the Ministry will continue to evolve strategies which address not just single hazards like fire and floods but also those that respond to systemic risks generated by industrial accidents like pipeline explosions and gas leakages”.
The Minister called on individuals to pass on to their various homes and offices, lessons that will be learnt from next week’s fire exit drill, to make Nigeria disaster risk free.
The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Disaster risk governance’.
The Ministry, since its establishment on August 21, 2019, has been initiating policies and programs that will build resilience towards disaster risk reduction in Nigeria. Fire drills can also expedite the institutionalization of disaster risk governance.
NNEKA IKEM ANIBEZE