Rwanda National Police (RNP) has called upon the general public to exercise extreme precaution against any activity that may lead to fire outbreaks, which may result into loss of lives and property.
The Commanding Officer of the Fire and Rescue Unit in RNP, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Jean Baptiste Seminega, made the call in reaction to the recent wildfire in Nyungwe National Park on June 21.
It is believed that the fire that gutted a section of the national reserve was caused by individuals, who were harvesting honey in the national park.
“Investigations are still underway to ascertain all circumstances surrounding the fire which destroyed about 21 hectares of the park,” ACP Seminega said.
“These are reckless traditional ways of harvesting honey that should be stopped to prevent such environmental degradation acts,” he added, calling for immediate reporting in cases anyone witnesses fire outbreak.
Honey harvesting, littered lit cigarette butts as well as burning garden wastes, are some of the causes of wildfire.
He urged the public to possess fire extinguishing equipments and acquire basic firefighting and detection skills.
“Preventing such disasters includes doing away with what can cause it but also reporting as soon as fire breaks out to prevent mass damage,” he said.
Some of the RNP contacts for fire and other responses to disasters include 111 (fire and rescue brigade) 112 for emergency, 07888311224, 07888311120 and 0788311335.
On fire outbreak in houses, he advised people to always use professional electricians, acquire fire extinguishers, keeping flammable products in the house or need fire, avoid overloading electric installations, and leaving lit candles in attendance of children.
In response to disasters and fire outbreak in particular, RNP has been conducting awareness campaigns, but also acquiring modern hi-tech equipment.
RNP in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government acquired firefighting trucks, which are stationed at the regional level, with plans to acquire more for districts for efficient response.