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The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has begun the recertification of emergency response officers in Lagos State to reduce casualty and loss of lives during emergencies.
Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, Acting Zonal Coordinator, South West Zonal Office,(NEMA), made this known on Thursday at a two-day Basic First Aid/Recertification Course organised for emergency responders in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the participants included officers of NEMA, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).
Others are: LASEMA Response Unit, Federal Fire Service and Police Disaster Management Unit.
Farinloye said the training, which was being organised in collaboration with the Nigeria Red Cross Society, was to boost the capacity of emergency response officers in the state, especially with the upsurge in COVID-19.
According to him, collaboration among the critical stakeholders is crucial to disaster risk reduction.
“The Director General of NEMA, AVM Muhammadu Muhammed (rtd.), on assumption of office observed that there were gaps within the capacity of the staffers of the agency and that of the stakeholders.
“This is what necessitated this training on first aid because if we are pro-efficient in first aid implementation, loss of lives during emergencies will be reduced drastically.
“COVID-19 cannot stop emergencies so in the process of saving lives, emergency responders must adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols in administering first aid to victims.
“Under the new guidelines, ways of administering first aid to infants have not changed but there are changes in administering first aid to adults and children,” he said.
Farinloye said the training would be done periodically to expose emergency responders to best practices on disaster and safety management.
He added that NEMA would also continue to boost the capacity of its Grassroots Emergency Volunteer Corps (GEVC) to prevent disasters or mitigate its impact in the state.
“Our goal is to work with all stakeholders including members of the public to prevent disasters or to respond in a very timely manner in order to save lives and property,” Farinloye said.
Also speaking, CSP Elizabeth Opadola, Officer in Charge of Disaster Management Unit, Lagos State Police Command, commended NEMA for organising the training.
Opadola said apart from boosting the capacity of the officers, it had given them the opportunity to bond with other sister agencies, which would improve collaboration in responding to emergencies.
“Collaboration is very essential because at the scene of incidents we usually come together and work in synergy with the goal of protecting people’s lives and property and making sure that the environment is safe,” she said.
Opadola noted that the major challenge faced by emergency responders in Lagos State was accessibility to the scene of disasters and appealed to the Lagos State Government to create a special route for emergency agencies.
Similarly, Mrs Deborah Adebiyi, Deputy Superintendent of Fire, Federal Fire Service, said the training had exposed the officers to the importance of first aid in emergency management.
She said: “It has given us exposure on what we need to do to save lives under the barest minimum time.
“This training has also emphasised that emergency response requires synergy and that nobody can do it alone.
“So, I think we need more of this kind of training when we are able to come together and discuss about emergencies so that when those real life experiences come we will be able to approach it in a more tactical way.”
Mr Bisiriyu Kabiru, Zonal Coordinator, LASEMA, Lagos West Senatorial District, said the COVID-19 pandemic had made it imperative for emergency responders to embark on new methodology of saving lives.
“We are working harmoniously with all emergency response agencies to see how we can continue to do our job of saving lives and property in a safer manner,” he said