Fire and brimstone evoke very vivid and terrifying objects when used by certain preachers to keep faithful firmly on the straight and narrow path to eternal salvation.
In man’s early days, the discovery of fire literally changed the way of life and set the planet’s inhabitants on a path of discovery, great strides in human development, and self-destruction in equal measure. Flames, therefore, represent both good and bad in human history.
Unfortunately, when they reduce a homestead or business into ashes, the pain and suffering etched on the brows of the affected is often disturbing. A case in point is the recent Mukuru-Sinai fire that left a trail of death and destruction and barged its way into national and international headlines.
As usual, firefighters had a hard time accessing the blaze and their numbers were insufficient to respond to any other disaster on that same day.
Questions were raised about the insufficiency of the equipment in use as well as their level of preparedness.
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Realising these challenges, the Government seems to have woken from its stupor and is partnering with the G4S security company to train more than 2,000 grassroots firefighters and first aid givers at a cost of Sh23.5 million.
The Special Programmes ministry and Minister Esther Murugi deserve kudos for trying to reduce, and even eliminate fatalities caused when fires break out. In an interesting twist of fate, Ms Murugi is the Nyeri MP, the constituency that holds the remains of scouts movement founder Lord Baden Powell.
This makes her the best person to spearhead this effort of ‘growing’ a nationwide fire service for the unheralded men and women who time and again put their lives at risk to save those of others.
This is a positive step in national disaster preparedness and management, and a far cry from the daily diet of bigots, hatred, slander, libel, speculation, and posturing by the political class.
They have become masters of procrastination, intrigue, self-preservation instead of undertaking developments like the fire battling teams, and in the process, making a difference.