By RITESH KUMAR
The National Fire Authority (NFA) has responded to seventy-two property fires as at the end of August 2013.
One of the road blocks to effective fire fighting is the delay in receiving the fire call at the fire station. This is also one of the major concerns members of the communities raise with the firefighters when they arrive at the scene to fight the fire.
Members of the community highlight they called either 911 or 917. Any 911 calls made from mobile phones are currently directed to Fiji Police Operation Centre and 911 calls made from the land lines are directed to the Telecom Fiji Call Centre. The Police and Telecom will then forward or direct the emergency fire call to the NFA.
The NFA has recently been granted approval by the Telecommunication Authority of Fiji to use the Emergency Number 910 for receiving Emergency fire calls.
NFA CEO John O’Connor highlighted that NFA’s new 910 fire and emergency telephone line will further boost NFA’s ability to respond to fire and emergency calls and serve our communities more effectively and efficiently.
“Members of the community can now call on NFA’s new 910 fire and emergency line to report a fire incident if they cannot get through to 911 or 917 to report a fire incident.
The 910 emergency fire call will be directly received by the NFA control room operators in Suva, Lautoka and in Labasa who will than dispatch Fire Appliance immediately to attend to the emergency call required by the members of the community.
The NFA CEO highlighted that one of the reason why emergency calls are not getting through to NFA via Telecom or Police or directly to NFA is because some members of the community usually make prank calls to these contact numbers at the same time when people are calling through to report a fire incident.
As a result of prank calls, the other real emergency calls are being held up in a queue which causes more delay in receiving that important fire call.
“To ensure there are no delays that can affect NFA response to any fire or emergencies, the NFA has now started operating its own emergency line-910 which is currently on trial. However, during this trial period we have experienced members of the community especially children making calls to the 910 number.
“We are urging parents to ensure they lock their phones so that the children do not accidently call the 910 number and engage the line unnecessary,” Mr O’Connor said.
The NFA CEO highlighted that as NFA continues to improve its services delivery to the members of the community, having a dedicated emergency number for fire emergencies is part of our strategy to provide better and effective service delivery to the people.
“These changes being implemented are part of NFA reforms to improve its services to the people of Fiji to fulfill the objective of the Government in providing better and effective services to all communities,” Mr O’Connor added.