According to the Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), its emergency response time has been decreased from five to three minutes in order to reduce casualties and save lives and property.
Mrs. Florence Wenegieme, Director, Forecasting, Response, and Mitigation, FEMA, announced this on Tuesday during a sensitization programme in Abuja to honour the 2023 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.
According to the Nigerian News Agency (NAN), the sensitization took place at the Bwari Area Council Secretariat in Abuja and the Palace of Esu Sa-Bwaya of Bwari (the Chief of Bwari), Ibrahim Yaro.
Sensitization began on October 4 across the FCT’s six Area Councils under the subject “Fighting Inequality for a Resilient Future for All.”
Wenegieme noted that after training community structures to serve as first responders to emergencies in their respective communities, the three-minute response time became manageable.
Local divers, emergency vanguards, disaster marshals, town criers, volunteers, and other structures such as youth and women groups were defined as community structures by her.
She stated that the community structures had received enough emergency response training through drills and simulations to equip them with the necessary knowledge and abilities.
The director also stated that FEMA had purchased power motorcycles for agency staff to use in navigating Abuja traffic and being at the emergency area in three minutes.
According to her, disaster management is multifaceted and everyone’s responsibility, including school-age children.
“Because an emergency occurs in their community, community people are frequently the first responders.”
“They have received appropriate training to know exactly what to do during emergencies and rescue operations before to the arrival of FEMA authorities.”
“This timely response will save more lives and properties,” she added.
Wenegieme noted that the purpose of the awareness campaign was to ensure that locals recognise catastrophe risks in their communities and understand how to prevent and mitigate disasters to limit their impact.
She went on to say that sensitising community members was crucial to ensuring that no one was left behind during disasters.
She emphasised the importance of community members paying special attention to vulnerable populations such as children, pregnant women, the blind, the elderly, and persons living in disaster-prone areas.
In response, the Esu of Bwari Yaro pledged to work with FEMA to spread disaster risk reduction messaging to every home in the Bwari area council.
Earlier, Mr. John Bagaya, Council Chairman of Bwari Area Council, stated that the council has established its Local Emergency Management Committee to respond to local emergencies.
Me Eli Kadanya, the Council Secretary and Bagaya’s representative, indicated that the council has taken precautionary measures to avoid calamities.
He explained that one of the methods was to collect garbage, desilt drainages, and educate communities about the dangers of developing in flood-prone locations.
He informed FEMA of the council’s help in educating and mobilising community members to take action in the face of calamities.