Fire disaster declared national emergency, as LNFS graduates 135 Fire Fighters
By Lewis S Teh
The Government of Liberia through the Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS) has declared that fire disasters are a national emergency that must be given serious attention.
Over the weekend, LNFS Director Col. Alex Dickson said while it is true that over the past time the Government of Liberia and the United States have been providing support to the institution, more needs to be done for the institution to adequately carry out its core function in terms of fighting fire.
He made the statement when the LNFS graduated 135 new firefighters during a ceremony held at the Barclay Training Center (BTC).
The graduates completed training in different types of firefighting sciences for about six weeks. Six international trainers from the United States of America, Ghana and Nigeria, among others, facilitated the exercise.
In what was described as a special statement at the graduation ceremony, Director Dickson said his entity has recorded about 46 fire cases with 3 death reports from January to May this year.
Col. Dickson declared the fire incidents in Liberia are a ‘national emergency’ and encouraged the public to apply all preventive measures in order to be on the safe side.
He lauded the Liberian government for making all efforts to procure eight fire engines and an ambulance.
He revealed that when he took over the service as Director, the LNFS had only one fire truck. But through consistent engagement with various stakeholders within four years, he said the government was able to procure six additional fire trucks which are currently being used.
Col. Dickson explained that eight more along with an ambulance are expected to be procured by the government shortly.
“Today we all can see what is happening in Ukraine with firefighters on the front line helping to save lives and protecting properties, but this will only happen when your men are trained and this is why we continue to train firefighters, said Col. Dickson.
“To the Graduates, we want to extend our heartfelt appreciation to you for all the sacrifices and the tireless efforts [you] put in to conclude this training. We are proud of you and it’s our hope that you will perform the duty for which you were called. Congratulations again,” Col. Dickson noted.
According to Col. Dickson, from 1963 to 2022, the Fire Service has been in a rental building, but he presented a blueprint of what the Fire Service would look like.
He further used the occasion to extend heartfelt thanks to the government and its partners for their support.
The graduation ceremony at the BTC brought together an array of government officials including Cllr. F. Musah Dean, Jr., Minister of Justice & Attorney General of Liberia; U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Michael A. McCarthy; Amb. Kwabena Okubi-Appiah, Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana; Defense Minister Daniel D. Ziankahn, Jr.; and Dr. Samora P.Z. Wolokollie, Deputy Finance Minister for Fiscal Affairs.