The Papua New Guinea Fire Service is one agency of government that exists on the peripheries of  government attention. Its role only comes to the fore during fire emergencies.  The current state of the   Fire Service is, in itself, a risk to investors. After a series of stories ran on EMTV, a senior Fire Service Officer has come out to talk about some aspects of a complex issue. 

A senior fire  service officer who did not  want to be named  says  Lae City’s only fire station does not  have the ability  to adequately contain fires that could happen  on tall buildings.
His comments come after a  series of 8 major fires  in a space of  24 months. 
He said the Lae Fire stations does not have  a snorkel – a truck with an extending arm  designed to put out fires on tall buildings as well as adequate manpower for a city of 500 thousand people.
Over the  last 10 years,  industrial  growth has outpaced   the  ability of  the Papua New Guinea Fire Service  to   adequately  handle fire emergencies.  Despite the growth, Lae has only one fire station.
While  some improvement has been made in terms of improving  equipment,  the emergencies  that have happened in the last two years  have  brought to light the inadequacies of the Service.
Senior officers say Lae City needs two more fire stations.  At present any new investor in Lae  has to seriously consider fire risks   and the possibility of losing millions of  kina to  fires that  may not be adequately  contained by the Papua New Guinea Fire Service.
Fire emergencies do not  always happen every day,  but the statistics for Lae alone are alarming.  Between 2012 and January 2014,  four businesses have suffered major losses  from fires that destroyed their properties and at least five families have lost their homes.
A fire  victim,  Apelis  Mapua,  who lost his home told   EMTV on Tuesday   that emergency response times for the Fire service have  always been a major issue.
            “For our case they didn’t come on time.”
This year, an assessment will be carried out to determine how many more fire stations and what kind of equipment  will be needed for Lae.   This may take a year, maybe several for the recommendations to be implemented.


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