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Boosting fire service, rescue operation for better response time in Lagos  

By Gbenga Salau
30 October 2022   |   4:19 am
To enhance the coordination of response time to disasters, especially those associated with fire, Lagos State government has built a new administrative edifice for the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service.

Project Contractor/Group CEO F& M ACME, Mr. Femi Olukotun (left); First Female Chief of Prince George County Fire Fighters, Maryland USA, Tiffany Green; Lagos State Governor Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat during the facility tour of the newly commissioned headquarters of Lagos State Fire Service Rescue Operation… recently. 

To enhance the coordination of response time to disasters, especially those associated with fire, Lagos State government has built a new administrative edifice for the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service. The new administrative building has 60 offices, with an expanded appliance bay, landscaping, perimeter fence and developed road network.

The injection of a new lease of life into the state fire service is coming about 50 years that the fire service agency started operation. The fire fighting body was founded on August 31, 1972 with the main goal of preventing and combating fire disaster. That journey was a modest one, as an expatriate chief officer, Sir Allan Flemming together with three-man crew were the first set of staff of the agency that now has over 500 workers.

And with Lagos’ growing population, the demand for fire fighting activities has also risen. No wonder, new fire service stations had been built in some local councils in the state. But just as the state government is expanding the capacity of the fire service with additional fire stations, which makes response time to emergency better, it was not surprising that the state government last week unveiled a rebranded headquarters of the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, Alausa, Ikeja.

At the colourful event was the Chief Executive Officer of the state, Governor Babjide Sanwo-Olu, who was accompanied to the programme by cabinet members, party leaders and friends of his administration.

Sanwo-Olu, at the ceremony, said: “Today’s handing over of three newly constructed fire stations at Ebute Elefun, Oniru, Ajegunle and the newly upgraded Fire Service Headquarters in Alausa to the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service Agency is the fulfillment of our administration’s commitment to the protection of lives and property of our citizens.

“We believe response time to fire disasters is critical as it can make a lot of difference between life and death. The earlier the fire is attacked, the lesser the damage it will have on people and property. To enable fire responders to reduce the distance and overcome other unplanned encumbrances on the way to fire scenes, the idea of having at least one fire station in each of the 20 local councils of the state was conceived.

“Lagos requires protection through deliberate disaster mitigation and emergency management strategies that are realistic and comprehensive. We are convinced that the construction of new fire stations will allow quicker response to the scene of emergencies within their specific area of coverage, as we believe the proximity of fire stations to incident locations is crucial to rescue and safety operations. With the new facilities, firemen will get to the theatre of operations at record time.”

Sanwo-Olu also expressed delight at the excellence put into the execution of the project. He said: “I was personally impressed yesterday when I saw the pictures of the completion. I want to thank our contractor, Femi Olukotun for this great edifice.  

“We have four new fire stations that were commissioned today. And this is the headquarters. This shows the level of our preparedness to combat emergency and fire disaster to save lives and properties of Lagosians. For the first time in the history of this state, we will see some new sophisticated equipment to be handed over for use by the state.

“We want to compete with global citizens in the world. It is indeed what we meant by wanting to be a 21st century state. And am happy we are responding to and fulfilling what a mega city should look like.”

Renowned for its standard and ethical practice, the project executor, F&M ACME Limited, a subsidiary of BrookHeritage Holdings Limited, is one of the fastest growing indigenous construction and real estate firm in Nigeria.

Corroborating Sanwo-Olu, the contractor, Olukotun said that the aim of the project is to renovate existing offices as well as design and build a new standard and befitting administrative office structure to serve as the headquarters of the Lagos State Fire Service and Rescue Operation.

“As a contractor, we are very proud to be part of this laudable achievement of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu especially in relation to various fire stations that were upgraded, newly built and in particular the headquarters which was reconstructed by our company and being commissioned today. It is quite a very encouraging opportunity for us and we have decided to take up this job very diligently and constructed a well befitting fire service headquarters for Lagos State.”

On the state-of-art facilities added to the building, Olutokun said: “It was formerly a 20 rooms building but we have been able to reconstruct and ensure that is now enlarged and can accommodate over 60 offices including, the gym, the sick bay, the officers mess, two different section of conference rooms, executive conference room and general conference room. Other amenities include the communication room; we have a standard slide for emergency response etc. The building was constructed with the best of sophisticated equipment and materials that can actually stand the test of time and the aesthetics is what will deliberately work on to ensure that we deliver a project that we can be proud of.

“And indeed we are very proud of this project and with the new redesigning and reconstruction you see that the headquarter is now a complete emergency route in which all visitors will now have a different entry and exist route which does not interfere with emergency responder that are on standby.

“We are proud once again to be part of this laudable project; we are also very humbled by series of goodwill messages that we have received in respect of this project and we want to assure the general public that we as a construction firm will continue to do our best to ensure that we give out quality services at every opportunity that we have to serve.”

The Director of Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, Mrs. Margaret Adeseye, said the new assets would raise the capacity of the agency in emergency operations. She commended the governor for his vision to provide a world-class fire services for the state.

“We have been upgraded,” elated Adeseye exclaimed. “Here, we have 20 offices before but now I can boldly tell you we have 60 offices in Lagos state fire and rescue service headquarters. With this new development, we will be more proactive in terms of response time.

“Aside that we can see the morale of the staff, they are all happy, seeing what the Governor put in place for the fire service to make sure our job is easier. It will make us to work even more than we have been working. It will encourage us to do more. To whom more is given more is expected.”

She appealed to the public to support the institution. “When they call for emergency, this is not the time to damage fire trucks. The fire trucks are being procured by Lagos taxpayers’ money. We need to protect it.”

The General Manager of Lagos State Infrastructure Asset Management Agency (LASIAMA), Nike Adekanbi, described the newly upgraded Fire Department headquarters in Alausa as “an edifice built to last”, noting that the building expanded to strengthen the administrative capacity of the agency.

Giving kudos to his team for delivering a first class project, the Head of Engineering and Technical at F&M ACME, who was in charge of the construction, Taiwo Otenaike, an engineer, praised the ‘commitment of all’ in bringing the ideas into reality.

Showcasing his company beyond construction and real estate, Olukotun said other subsidiaries of the company have been creating opportunities and transforming lives. For instance, Agriant Limited, an integrated farm, agro-allied and food processing company with head office in Lagos is one of the Nigeria’s leading foods and agro-allied companies. It has deep interest in aquaculture with over 150,000 natural pond capacities, which is presently at 70 per cent occupancy (Catfish & Tilapia), oil palm, maize and pineapple plantations as well as animal husbandry.
 
Continuing, he disclosed that Agriant is a subsidiary of BrookHeritage Holdings, a proprietary company, coordinating business interests in Finance, Energy, Real Estate and Agriculture with a strong determination to succeed in all facets of its business endeavours.

Among the dignitaries present were the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Mrs. Margaret Adeseye; Project Contractor/ Group CEO F&M ACME, Mr. Femi Olukotun; first female Chief of Prince George County Fire fighters, Maryland USA, Tiffany Green; and Commissioner of Physical  Planning and  Urban Development, Mr. Tayo Bamigbose.