Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | On Oct.10, Vivo Energy Uganda launched a fire safety education campaign for schools in Uganda, titled; ‘Cool Kids Stop Fires’, as a measure towards reducing the incidents of fire outbreaks in schools and resulting injuries, fatalities and loss of property.
The campaign will be implemented in partnership with the Uganda Police Directorate of Fire Prevention and Rescue Services, and the Ministry of Education and Sports.
“Maintaining the highest international Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Quality (HSSEQ) standards is an integral part of our business. We would like to use our extensive expertise and knowledge to support the nation in curbing school fires which have been on the rise and pose a significant threat to the lives of our children and school property. Through this campaign, we will impart fire safety education to students and stakeholders of educational institutions and skill them in the prevention, detection, and management of school fires to avert the loss of life and property,” said Johan Grobbelaar, Managing Director, Vivo Energy Uganda.
According to the Uganda Police 2021 Annual Crime Report, a total of 1,258 fire emergencies were handled in 2021 compared to 1,015 in 2020, marking a 23.9% increase. Fire incidents were mainly attributed to negligence, electrical short circuits, charcoal stoves, and unattended candles/lamps among others.
John Martin Okoth Ochola, the Inspector General of Police said school fires were on the increase, especially during the first and second term of the year and in the months of May to August.
“We have registered over fifty school fires during this period, with the majority occurring in boarding schools and specifically the school dormitories. These rampant school fires present risks to the lives of the children, their property, properties of the affected schools and a disruptive effect to the economy of the country. There is need for mass sensitisation, firefighting training and enhancement of fire safety measures by schools through installation of smoke detectors and alarms. We are grateful for the support by Vivo Energy Uganda which will help us reach even more school staff and students with this important and lifesaving initiative.”
Joyce Moriku Kaducu, State Minister for Primary Education hailed the partnership between Vivo Energy Uganda and Uganda Police, describing it as a timely initiative and a much-needed response to the rampant school fires that are disruptive to the education sector.