Tanzania’s fire brigade decries inadequate funding

Tanzania Fire and Rescue Force displaying techniques of responding to a raging fire during their graduation ceremony

Tanzania Fire and Rescue Force displaying techniques of responding to a raging fire during their graduation ceremony

Tanzania’s Fire and Rescue Force intends to make structural review and increase investment in modern technology to boost services delivery particularly response time to 60 seconds as opposed to today’s 5 minutes.

Fire Brigade Commissioner General Pius Nyambacha told Home Affairs Minister Charles Kitwanga the unit is being hampered by inadequate government funding.

According to the commissioner, the brigade has not received its development funding from the ministry for the last five years.

“We now want to invest much more in modern technology … we just want the government to approve our budget for the purpose,” he said.

“The equipment is very expensive. Short of modern facilities coupled with the level of traffic and poor infrastructures put the fire rescue response team in a more challenging situation,” he added.

Government figures show while in Dar es Salaam alone has about 1,000 water hydrants, a paltry 150 is believed to be in good working condition.

Fikiri Salla, Fire and Rescue Force Commissioner for Public Safety said ongoing expansion in the city and infrastructure rehabilitation has led to the destruction of strategically located hydrants.

The commissioner explained that the unit has a fire and rescue vehicle with capacity to reach only 18 storey-building the force is handicapped in terms of the capability to rescue persons and property in high rises.

The Fire Brigade Commissioner Kitwanga however, ordered the unit to improve service and ensure all the required equipment to execute their duties are in place.

He said it’s not the matter of saying the equipment is very expensive rather “There is nothing more expensive than life … let the laws take course should there be individuals hindering you from doing your work,” he stated

Kitwanga expressed government commitment towards supporting the unit to obtain the required tools to fight fire.