Mr Martin Agbili, Fire Chief and Director, Anambra State Fire Service, disclosed this during the celebration of the 2018 International Firefighters Day (IFFD) in Awka on Friday.
The theme of the celebration is: “Technology in Emergency Response and Support for Firefighters’’.
Agbili said the service also saved property worth about N11. 2 billion during the period due to its proactive responses to emergency calls.
He said the occasion which was the first in the state since it was celebrated universally 20 years ago, was to bring the successes and challenges of Firemen in their efforts to combat fire-related emergencies in the state.
“From December 2017 to April 2018, Anambra has recorded 68 fire outbreaks with estimated loss of about N506,057,000.00 and estimated saving of property worth about N11.2 billion.
“Although property worth millions of Naira were lost, but due to its diligent service delivery, the Anambra State Fire Service had also saved property worth billions of Naira in the state,” he said.
The fire chief who used the event to mourn two personnel of the service who died in the line of duty, called for a better welfare package for firefighters as the extant remuneration was grossly inadequate in view of the risk involved in their job.
He also called for better equipping of the fire service for more effective service delivery.
He said the ability of firefighters to perform well during emergency operations depended on how well they were equipped.
Agbili thanked Gov. Willie Obiano for his support and commitment toward making Anambra State Fire Service virile through the donation of firefighting trucks and other equipment.
He, however, noted that the service was understaffed and craved for better working conditions.
“It must be known that the positive performance of firefighters depends on the amount of equipment and support during emergency response and emergency operations.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that activities marking the event included road shows around Awka to raise awareness of fire safety among the people.
The IFFD which is annually celebrated on May 4 globally, started in 1999 following the deaths of five firefighters in tragic circumstances in a bush fire in Australia.
May 4 used to be a traditional Firefighters’ Day in many European countries.
The day is also the day of Saint Florian, Patron saint of firefighters.(NAN)