Local Government Permanent Secretary (PS), Mathews Ngulube, has rebuked some local authorities for failing to select some members of staff to be trained as firefighters in accordance with the Fire Prevention Course No. 23 of 2021.
Speaking during the pass out of 146 firefighters among them 37 females, Mr. Ngulube said the government provided the provided financial resources, policy support and guidance to ensure all fire and rescue activities are implemented accordingly.
Mr Ngulube expressed disappointment with some with some local authorities and other organisations who failed to send officers for training even when space and resources to undertake the Fire Prevention Course No. 23 of 2021 were provided for.
“My government remains committed to providing financial as well as policy support and guidance to ensure all fire and rescue activities are implemented accordingly. My office is, however, disappointed with some local authorities and other organisations who have failed to avail officers who were allocated places on the programme,” Mr. Ngulube said.
“I am reliably informed that some local authorities have failed to send some officers for training since 2014 when the programme begun despite having untrained fire officers in their institutions,” he added.
He said this is a serious anomaly and cautioned local authorizes that allowing untrained fire officers to work on fire emergencies was not only risky but against government regulations.
Mr. Ngulube has since directed Fire Fighter Training School Commandant to submit to his office the names of local authorities that have not sent their fire officers for training for the ministry’s action.
“I therefore direct the commandant to submit the names of all the local authorities that have not sent their fire officers for training for the ministry’s action,” he said.
And Fire Services Union of Zambia President, Josphat Zulu, has also expressed his dismay that despite government declaring all local authorities as Fire Authorities, very few local authorities have responded by budgeting and ensuring that infrastructure being developed is in line with fire safety regulations.
He has also appealed to government to consider putting Fire Service Training School staff on PMEC as opposed to keeping them on Kabwe Municipal Council payroll.
He further demanded for speedy upgrading of the fire brigade section to a departmental status both at ministry and local authority level in line with the job evaluation and re-grading report, the fire policy and the parliamentary technical committee report.