Geared by the need for a collaborative approach in ensuring a safe environment across the University of Lagos campus, the UNILAG Fire Services Unit held its 1st Annual General Fire Prevention Lecture tagged: “Proactive Fire Protection in Our Society” on Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at Afe Babalola Auditorium.
Acting Head, Fire Services Unit, Mr. Jimoh Wasiu Oriyomi, in his opening remarks, revealed that the UNILAG Fire Services Unit which was established in 1982 used to be a section of the University of Lagos Security Unit, until it became autonomous in 2019.
While giving a breakdown of fire outbreaks on campus between year 2015 and 2020, Mr. Jimoh Wasiu noted that about 55 fire incidents were predicted for the years 2020 and 2021, he however said only one (1) major fire outbreak and fifteen (15) minor fire outbreaks were recorded for year 2021, a development which he attributed to the Unit’s proactiveness by organising sensitization/awareness campaigns and trainings for members of the University community.
In his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Management Services, Prof. Lucian Chukwu, identified safety as a survival instinct which humans and animals learn first.
While condemning the reactionary approach to fire incidents in many parts of Nigeria, Prof. Ogundipe underscored the need for a proactive approach to fire safety. He noted that while the Fire Services Unit has been working exceptionally hard to ensure safety, it would be great if there were no fires to battle, hence the need for a proactive unit.
Assistant Chief Operations Officer, Oyo State Fire and Rescue Services Agency, Mr. Ojelabi Ademola Simeon delivered a lecture titled: “My Role in Fire Protection.”
He identified three (3) major stakeholders involved in the fire safety process: The Government, Fire Fighting Agencies and people.
While highlighting the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder, the guest lecturer buttressed the need for each of the stakeholders to be more careful and be more committed to their duties with a view to averting the grievous consequences and gruesome loses which could result from fire incidents.
There were contributions to the lecture by the President of Fire Protection Association of Nigeria and Assistant Director, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority Alhaji Sheu Dambata, and the Director, Medical Services, UNILAG, Dr. O. Coker.
Alhaji Danbata represented by the Secretary General, Fire Protection Association of Nigeria, Mr. Austine Ogu, stated that fire safety is the ability to introduce technology to fire fighting. He noted that if the appropriate technology is not put in place, loss of lives and property to fires becomes inevitable. He advised that, for every building constructed on the University campus, a fire expert be assigned to them as parts of building design to provide proper advice on fire safety. He equally advocated that 5% of the building costs be assigned to putting in place for fire safety and prevention measures.
In her submission, Dr. Coker warned against the health implications of fire outbreaks to include: asthma, damage to the lungs, COPD, heart diseases, various types of cancer caused by air pollution during bush burning or fire outbreak, harmful crops being produced as a result to absorption of harmful substances from the soil (land pollution) which sometimes lead to the death of humans and animals.
As part of the event, a meritorious award was presented to the pioneer head of the Unit, Mr. Lasisi Bello who retired in 2020. Other awards were presented to the distinguished guests present.Mr. Austine OguAs part of the event, a meritorious award was presented to the pioneer head of the Unit, Mr. Lasisi Bello who retired in 2020. Other awards were presented to the distinguished guests present.