Harare City Council’s Fire Department does not have the capacity to handle major fire incidents due to inadequate equipment and understaffing.
According to the Fire Brigade and Ambulance Services 2017 Yearly Report, 12 out of 20 fire engines are working while only two out of four service vehicles are operational and only six out of 14 ambulances are working.
The fire section has 94 vacancies, the ambulance service 74 and administration 13.
According to the recent minutes of the Education, Health, Housing and Community Services and Licensing Committee, the department had a manpower establishment of 412, staff complement of 232 and 180 vacancies.
“As indicated on manpower establishment the fire section had 94 vacancies, ambulance 74 and administration has 13 vacancies out of an establishment of 412.
“Urgent recruitment of fire-fighters and ambulance technicians plus supporting staff was required,” read the minutes.
“The Emergency Services furniture was in bad state. There was need to procure new furniture. The Emergency Services Division was experiencing serious communication problems from radio, telephones and cellphone communication and it was proposed that the control centre be digitalised.”
The committee heard that there was need for the construction of a training school at a stand in Kuwadzana to facilitate training.
It was also noted that the Ambulance Training School does not train students from within Harare only but also from around Zimbabwe and the whole of the Southern African region hence there was need for boarding facilities.
“Construction of the training school should start as soon as possible. Currently, there is only one lecture room, making it very difficult, if fire, ambulance and prevention personnel conduct lectures concurrently,” read the minutes.
“The school was having to shelve other training programmes because of insufficient equipment. The training section upon request conducts training programmes outside Harare, hence there was great need for training services vehicles.”
The committee expressed the need to urgently refurbish the waiting rooms for Fire and Ambulance Services officers, which were in bad state and following discussion it was resolved that the committee notes the Fire and Ambulance Services report for the year 2017.