The Uganda Police Force has passed out a total of 100 officers after completing a 13-week training course in firefighting and rescue services.
Speaking during the pass out ceremony in Kampala on Friday, the police director for fire prevention and rescue services, AIGP Joseph Mugisa says the new lot means the force now has over 700 firefighters throughout the country.
“This is an important milestone for the fire prevention and rescue services directorate and in line with the entire force’s objective of strengthening it for better service delivery,” AIGP Mugisa said.
He noted that the group has acquired skills not only in fire fighting but also rescuing people trapped in pit latrines, holes and building rubbles among others.
“They will be deployed at our 46 fire stations around the country as we get ready for emergencies. Managing emergencies like fire outbreaks is for the courageous and strong-minded persons and our officers are ready for any task.”
AIGP Mugisa however noted there are still a number of challenges like the meagre budget for training that he said limits their ability to have a big number of fire fighters.
“We would like to have trainings abroad in countries like South Africa and UK to ensure our officers acquire up to date fire fighting skills and knowledge to evolve with changing situations. This is however not possible with the current budget. We ask for an increment in our budget,”Mugisa said.
He noted that since their directorate is specialized and officers are on standby every time, there is need for a top up of their salary to act as a motivation to officers as they do their work.
AIGP Mugisa also asked that the fire prevention and rescue services directorate gets its own training college to train as many fire fighters as possible to deal with emergencies.
The Police Director for Welfare, Production and Sports, AIGP Andrew Sorowen urged the officers in the fire prevention and rescue services directorate to always be proactive.
“Don’t wait for fires to break out to go and put them out. Move out to the public especially schools, timber yards and markets and teach them how to prevent fires. Guide them on what to do. This way, the public will appreciate the force,”Sorowen said.
During the pass out, the new fire fighters carried out drills to display skills in firefighting, rescuing people trapped under vehicles after accidents, putting out fires caused by fuel tanks and rescuing those trapped in tall buildings and in pit latrines.