Fire department orders compulsory fire extinguishers for homes, offices, vehicles By ThisDay Reporter & Agencies 1st February 2010 DAR ES SALAAM Regional Commissioner William Lukuvi, has temporarily blocked a controversial plan by the fire and rescue force department in the Ministry of Home Affairs to start charging motorists for inspection of fire extinguishers in their vehicles. At the same time, the fire department will from this month begin a campaign intending to sensitise the public on the importance of installing fire extinguishers in residences as well as business premises countrywide. According to the department's deputy commissioner (supervision & monitoring), Rogatius Kipali, the exercise is in fulfillment of the Fire and Rescue Force Act No. 14 of 2007, which started being applied in 2008. The legislation gives the fire department powers to prosecute those who don't abide by its guidelines and regulations. "There is nothing new in this exercise. We are effecting and implementing the law on fire extinguishers that demands that all motorcars, airplanes, and buildings to be equipped with fire extinguishers for protection in case of fire outbreaks," Kipali said in an exclusive interview with THISDAY. He said in the case of storeyed buildings, each flat will be charged 40,000/- minimum for the installation of fire extinguishers. The price will also involve business premises which are non-storeyed buildings. "According to the law, all residences are supposed to be installed with fire extinguishers as a precaution against fire outbreaks," Kipali said. Each residence will be required to pay only for the installation of fire extinguishers, while the fire department will provide free instructions on how to use them. "Obviously the price will be low for ordinary people, compared to business people," he stated. The exercise is expected to be implemented countrywide, but to start with it is being practiced in the urban areas where there are more incidences of fire outbreak. Meanwhile, Dar es Salaam RC Lukuvi told THISDAY that he has already issued directives to the fire and rescue force department on the implementation aspects of the exercise. Lukuvi said he has also ordered the department to stop inspecting vehicles on the roads without following proper procedures, including creating public awareness on the importance of the exercise. "We can't just do things without proper planning and informing the people," the RC asserted. The department has also been directed to give prominence to buildings over vehicles because they are more prone to fire outbreaks. "A plan of action is being prepared and we will discuss it together," Lukuvi said. The exercise of installing fire extinguishers and inspecting vehicle stickers began some months ago but raised various complaints from vehicle owners for perceived irregularities. One complaint has been over the cost of the exercise. There are also allegations that some traffic police officers have been taking advantage of the exercise to 'fine' motor vehicle owners who have not installed the gadgets, and omitting to issue receipts for payment. Responding to the allegations, Kipali said traffic police officers who 'fine' vehicle owners and dealers who supply fire extinguishers without issuing receipts are outright thieves. "The income derived from installation of fire extinguishers and stickers goes into the government coffers. The dealers who supply the fire extinguishers are supposed to pay a certain fee to the government, apart from the normal taxes for business operations," Kipali explained. "Any party that collects these monies for personal benefit is a thief and should be arrested," he added.