CAPTION: Firefighter Tevita Seru with a LTA officer conducting the road safety operation.
National Fire Authority (NFA) has praised the joint road safety operations conducted with the Fiji Police Force and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in the Central Division which has addressed many vehicle fire safety issues.
NFA CEO John O?Connor said it was a privilege for NFA to work with the Fiji Police Force and the LTA on this road safety campaign for the first time.
?Only Police and LTA are empowered to stop, inspect and book vehicles and taking part in this joint operation had allowed NFA to conduct on the spot checks in relation to fire safety compliance.
?This was the first such operations to be conducted and it was very effective,? Mr O?Connor said.
?This was a proactive approach to ensure fire safety compliance in vehicles especially for the public service vehicles and to prevent the occurrence of vehicle fires.
The NFA CEO said that during the three days joint operations they encountered a number of incidents where public service vehicles with passengers on board did not comply with basic standards of fire safety.? Some vehicles did not even have a fire extinguisher.
Thirty-eight public service vehicles, including, buses were operating without a fire extinguisher while some public service vehicles had an expired fire extinguisher.
Oil and fuel leakages were also noted on some of these vehicles which compromised the safety of the passengers on board.
?These are serious breach of fire safety standards which compromised the safety of their passengers on board,? Mr O?Connor said.
?Being part of this operation allowed NFA to work with Police and LTA and we were able to highlight these shortfalls in fire safety to the enforcement agencies which allowed them to take the relevant necessary activities,? Mr O?Connor said.
As a result, drivers were either booked and some vehicles were even confiscated.
The NFA CEO added that bus fire and road accident rescue operations have been NFA?s major emergency response apart from responding to structural fires and this joint exercise was an important one for NFA to curb these issues on our roads.
?One of the issues faced when responding to fire and emergency calls is the attitude and behavior of drivers in response to give way to our fire trucks and ambulance. We were able to conduct mock exercises with Police and LTA during this joint operation to try and improve and address this issue,? Mr O?Connor said.
?These mock exercises also allowed NFA, Police and LTA to work together in terms of traffic management to allow the emergency response to reach the incident site as quickly as possible.
?The joint operation was a great success and NFA will now continue discussion with the Fiji Police and LTA? for the conduct of more joint exercise throughout Fiji and ultimately for the parties to reach understanding and agreement on our different roles during any emergency,? Mr O?Connor added.