Local businesses lose upto Sh3 billion annually in fire related incidences, the Association of Fire Protection Industry Stakeholders has said.
This comes as Kenya boasts only 600 firefighters against a population of 45 million or one for every 68,182 Kenyans, according to the Kenya National Fire Brigade Association.
AFPIS now wants the government to form a single Fire and Rescue Authority which can provide a vital role in protecting communities and businesses, in a bid to bring down the number of deaths, injuries and losses from fires.
“While there is a National Policy for Disaster Management, Kenya has never legislated nor implement specific policies on fire and rescue services. This leaves the country vulnerable and unprepared to handle fire emergencies” AFPIS chairman Kariuki Ndugo said.
According to the association, there is need for an authority to be formed since the County Disaster, Management Bill 2014 has failed to address sufficiently fire and rescue services such as management of fire incidence and providing civic education on fire safety and prevention among other functions.
Through a policy proposal to be tabled at the senate in the next government, AFPIS calls on the government to amend the CDM Bill, 2014, as currently drafted to remove the two provisions related to County Fire and Rescue Services.
They will then table a comprehensive County Fire and Rescue Services Bill at the senate that addresses fire and rescue services across the country, including the provision of a national framework for the administration of Fire and Rescue Services underpinned by county governments.
Despite the constitution stating that firefighting services are a mandate of the county government, only major cities such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Thika, Kiambu and Nakuru have operational fire station.
The single Fire and Rescue Authority will be based on a national framework and provide for the devolvement of fire and rescue services in the counties.
Among the powers to be vested upon the authority will include, conferring power of entry , power to stop or regulate traffic and power to restrict access to enable firemen to execute their duties effectively.
AFPIS also wants the authority spell out offences and penalties for those found guilty of causing the fires.
According to numbers from KNFBA, Kenya has lost more than 200 lives, property worth Sh10 billion, and thousands of victims left to suffer from effects of fire in the last decade.