By Olasunkanmi Akoni
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, revealed that at least 300 fuel tankers were involved in various road crashes in the state last year, 2020.
This happened as the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, stressed the need for residents to be safety conscious in order to ward off any potential threat.
Mrs Sanwo-Olu, gave the charge at the first Road Traffic Management Simulation Exercise, to be held in the Year 2021, organised by LASEMA, at its Cappa Base, Oshodi, led by its Director-General, Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu.
According to her, “Every Government is duty-bound to protect the lives of its people and their properties from disasters, and as the government agency is solely responsible for disaster management in Lagos State, LASEMA’s Simulation Exercise is an important aspect of the agency’s increased state of Preparedness to ensure proper readiness of the management and staff of the agency in order to help it fulfil its mission and mandate.
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“Lagos State is extremely vulnerable to a high incidence of disasters and emergencies. To mention a few, Lagos is particularly susceptible to flooding, fire, road traffic accident, pipeline vandalism and explosions, among others, due to the peculiarity of its topography, climate condition, vegetation and strategic location. This is why the frequent occurrence of some of these incidents in Lagos metropolis is to be entirely expected while the responsible agency must be on its toes.!
“In recent times, residents in Lagos State have been inundated with road traffic accidents, disaster/emergency incidents, and fire outbreaks, being the most obvious examples. These unfortunate occurrences destroy homes and several means of livelihoods but also leave their immediate environment blighted while jeopardising the entire society and economy of the state in the process.
“It is, therefore, the responsibility of a caring government to engage in active disaster risk reduction efforts by aligning the skill set and competencies of its staff and stakeholders to build the capacity of residents from the grassroots level up, through the establishment of Local Emergency Management Committees, LEMCs, in the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas, in the state.
“To residents and organizations in the state, I urge you to be safety conscious. Safety starts with people resolving to take individual responsibility to ward off any potential threat. It is our collective responsibility to work with the government to protect us.”
Earlier, Commissioner for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Tayo Bamgbose-Martins, disclosed that between December 2020 till date, LASEMA responded to 114 major emergencies, saving lives and properties worth billions of naira.
According to him, “LASEMA as the coordinating Agency for emergencies, coordinates and supports all Agencies in all emergency response but also acts as a responder during major incidents that is beyond the capacity of primary responders.
“In 2020, we had over 300 fuel tanker accidents, between December and now LASEMA has responded to 114 major emergencies, saving lives and billions of naira worth of properties. While some were accidental, others could have been avoided with better awareness.”
Bamgbose-Martins lamented that those incidents had not only affected the state as a whole but individual households and businesses, experiencing loss of income, adding that nevertheless, the State had to be prepared to respond quickly to every and any type of emergencies.
He added that LASEMA and its sister agencies had lived up to the expectation that borne their existence, as loss of lives, had been prevented, and the effect of many disasters mitigated with their professional handling of such unfortunate events.
“This simulation exercise, the first this year, is to further prepare our agencies for better disaster management and also show the level of preparedness of our agencies, stimulating our responders for any event that will need their expertise.
Bamgbose Martins, stressed, “the lives and property of all resident are dear to this administration, it, therefore, becomes imperative that our agencies get all the support they require in the dispensation of their duties.
“In the course of mitigating disasters for the state, our agencies have done well. They have been effective and have also collaborated with other agencies at both the Federal and State levels, saving lives and property. I commend our first responders for this initiative and I daresay that this is very crucial at this point in time in our state.
“Benjamin Franklin said and I quote “A failure to plan is a plan for failure”. In other words, the better prepared you are for an emergency, the more focused and effective the response will be.”
Oke-Osanyintolu. said the simulation exercise was meant to test the capability of the agency to respond to a simulated emergency in a disaster or crisis situation.
“Managing emergencies is reliant on effective coordination and efficient operations of all phases of emergency/disaster cycles which LASEMA has been able to achieve with appropriate response time, despite all hindrances of a metropolitan and cosmopolitan city like Lagos, in line with global best practice.
“This is so because LASEMA has an established and functional emergency response structure that runs all sections of the emergency/disaster cycle effectively. In all the phases of emergency/disaster management, preparedness is one of the key phases of the emergency cycle,” he said.
The tactical exercises, Oke-Osanyintiolu explained, entailed drills and simulations, including awareness and public education with a view to ensuring better operational performance at the scene of incidence due to adequate preparation through routine and cyclical training.
The exercise saw rescue simulations conducted on victims of multiple accidents with first aid treatment being applied.
Vanguard News Nigeria
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