Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Fire deaths increase by 56% last year

Addis Ababa Fire & Emergency Prevention and Rescue Authority

According to the Addis Ababa Fire & Emergency Prevention and Rescue Authority (AAFEPRA) 421 fire accidents claimed the lives of 111 people. That is a 56 percent increase from last year.

Statistics released by the fire service indicated that 104 million birr in property was lost to fires and 141 people were injured.

Bole District constituted 18 percent of the total fire accidents, followed by Kolfe and Arada District, with 12 and 11 percent, respectively

Nigatu Mamo, Communication officer of AAFEPRA told Capital that the authority saved over one billion birr worth of property.

Most fatalities occurred in residential fires (76) while 61 businesses suffered property damage.   “We have seen that with development there has been an increase in fires. We are doing our best to expand service one thing that would help us is if people would call the fire line right away and not wait. In addition, we need the public to get out of the way of emergency personnel so that we can get to the fire quickly.” Traffic congestion is another problem fire trucks face when trying to rush to fires.  Nigatu added that false emergency calls are also creating a huge problem.

“With the  939 free phone lines and  eight phones on average we receive 1,500 calls but 95 percent of them are fake calls often people actually thinking they are making a joke, for example some say find me a wife or a mobile card.”  “Sometimes it is hard to know which call is the right one and we need the public to use the call for the right purpose otherwise we miss the people who need our help, he added.’’

With the eight branches, the Agency reaches 10 Districts that cover 116 woredas. Of the 463 accidents recorded in Addis Ababa last year, the majority, 368, were caused by fire. The Agency said that an additional 125 hydrants will be installed during the 2016/17 fiscal year. Currently, there are four hydrants per 10 square meters in the city.

The eighty-year-old Agency is limited to eight stations, which were previously the only spots where water could be refilled by fire fighters.

There are currently 1,200 staff, 33 ambulances, three sky lift ladders and eight water trucks. The trucks have the capacity to hold 7,000 liters of water.