Fire risk continues to be an area of great concern for developing nations like Fiji.
President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere says this is due, in part, to the expansion of urban populations, which influences an increase in building construction and, with it, the prevalence of a lack of enforced fire safety regulations.
Ratu Wiliame says the noncompliance with fire safety standards and the high volume of traffic on congested roads contribute to the increasing fire risks.
He adds that these factors, coupled with inadequate firefighting training and equipment, worsen and pose a greater challenge to firefighting in the country.
The President says the National Fire Authority’s future plans include the establishment of the first ever state-of-the-art Fire Academy in Navakai, Nadi.
“The Fire Academy shall serve as a hub to facilitate regular specialized training for our firefighters and accommodate the many radical changes that the agency is undergoing with the ever changing emergency response needs faced by Fiji.”
Ratu Wiliame says the academy will also serve its regional counterparts and aim to strengthen regional relationships.
He adds that the NFA has also acquired suitable land and plans to establish more fire stations.
The President says the fire stations will cater to the growing population and development in these areas and, most importantly, improve coverage and allow accessibility of such essential services to all citizens of our beloved Fiji, both in rural and urban areas.