Opinion

I Almost Left the Altar on My Wedding Day -Engr Agbili

By Mercy Hill

Last week we introduced to you a born Fire fighter, Engr. Martin Agbili, who had been so passionate about saving lives and properties. His hardwork and resilience in carrying out his duties, recently earned him the appointment as regional coordinator of the International Fire Fighters Day (IFFD). Just on Monday 25th May 2020, he in company of his men, rescued a tanker loaded with black oil while it was negotiating to rejoin the expressway at immigration junction, Awka. Here is the continuation of his interview with Fides from last week’s edition.

What about your failures?
Let me tell the truth, all my life as a firefighter, I only had that feeling in October 2019, when there was a huge fire outbreak at Onitsha. There was much pressure on me and the Anambra state fire service. I almost gave up that period, because I could not eat nor sleep. But thank God for friends and relatives who stood by me. And I thank God we were able to weather that storm. Though my name rang a wrong bell on social media platforms then, it later turned out to be for my own announcement.

Sir, considering your recent appointment, what should we be looking out for in Africa, when it comes to firefighting?

I have started noting my action plan. But the first thing I would want to do is to unite fire fighters in Africa. I know the position will be challenging but I know that I am equal to the task.
Preventive measures for fire outbreaks
I always tell people that fire prevention is for everybody and the act of firefighting is for fire prevention. For us fire fighters, the act of fire prevention is done through sensitization.

My first words go to those who hoard petrol. They should desist from doing that because it is flammable and dangerous. Any little heat can trigger fire. Avoid overuse of your electronic home appliances, switch off all electric appliances when leaving the house. For those at the filling stations, the pump attendants should avoid leaving the pumps on, because any ignition could cause fire outbreak.
I also advice that bushes in your environment especially during the harmattan season should be cleared. For those using cooking gas, please mount the cylinders outside your kitchen. Make sure your children do not have access to the cylinders. Always open the windows of your kitchen for ventilation before igniting your cylinders for use.

I urge you to get Co2 fire extinguishers if there is an emergency in the kitchen. For those that have vehicles, get fire extinguishers, if it does not save you, it can save some other persons. Finally, make sure you get Fire service, police and ambulance emergency numbers:

ANAMBRA STATE FIRE SERVICE EMERGENCY NUMBERS

1. Fire Director’s Office, Command Headquarters, Eze-Uzu junction, Agu Awka. 09077044410

2. Headquarters Fire Stations Eze-Uzu junction, Agu Awka. 09077411503

3. Amawbia Fire Stations Adam & Eve roundabout, Amawbia. 09077744072 / 07081877775

4. Government House Fire Stations Government House Awka. 09077744099

5. Nnewi Fire Stations Nkwo Nnewi Main Market Nnewi. 09077744182

6. Building Market Fire Station, Ogidi. 09077744390 / 08086630033

7. Okpoko Fire Station, Obodoukwu road, Between Okpoko Police Station and Nigeria Custom Station, Okpoko (Ogbaru). 09077744515 / 08060706265

8. Main Market Fire Station, Main Market, Onitsha 09077744547

9. Nkpor Fire Station, Nkpor/Umuoji road, Eke Nkpor 09077744685.

10. Ekwulobia Fire Station, Sports Stadium, Ekwulobia 09077744785

11. Anambra State Fire Service Control Room:
09040134949/07026411444

12. You can also dial: 112

What is your advice to Ndi Anambra with regards to the lockdown in Anambra State, occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic?

Fire fighters just like other frontline workers are also affected. People should never say there is no coronavirus. It is real, and it has killed thousands of people across the globe. Fire fighters should also be careful, because at the point of saving lives, it can be contracted. Ndi Anambra. should take safety measures provided by WHO, NCDC and other health bodies. Parents with kids should protect their children and apply all safety measures too.
It was quite an inspiring discourse with you. Thank you.

Anambra State Fire fighters on a rescue mission at the accident location

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