BY CLAUDIA TALLY
Thousands of Port Moresby residents are at risk of losing their lives and properties due to scarcity of fire hydrants with some locations having none at all.
Residents of Eight Mile, Nine Mile, Taurama, Morata and Gerehu stages Three to six are in the red zone where there are no fire hydrants installed.
Chief Fire Officer Bill Roo and his deputy Jennifer Kaeyo told the Post-Courier that the lack of fire hydrants was a cause for concern to them.
“The only thing that can put out fire is water and that is what we use,” Mr Roo said.
“If water is not there, firemen can be there but what can they do?.
“Our main challenge in fire-fighting is the availability of fire hydrants.
“The lack of fire hydrants affect water availability and when fire trucks do relays it takes up time and affects our response to fire.”
At present fire fighters depend on their own local knowledge developed from regular inspections of where the fire hydrants are located within their zones when they attend to fires.
Ms Kaeyo said some fire engines carry up 2800 liters of water while others carry up to 9,000 liters but that was still not enough to fight a blazing fire.
“The water carried by fire trucks run out in five minutes and if there is no hydrant nearby, relaying water take up time and by that time the fire has swallowed almost everything,” she said.
According to Mr Roo and Ms Kaeyo, the responsibility of setting up and installing water hydrants rested with Water PNG.
A statement issued last year by Water PNG in response to an article by the Post-Courier on fire hydrants stated that they were responsible for the fire hydrants where they were located and were doing their best to maintain them.
Mr Roo said a part of the responsibility was also on property developers to consider fire safety measures in their plans as well.
In an attempt to help address the issue of fire hydrants, the PNG Fire Service has been liaising with developers around the city to ensure that they factored in these vital elements into their plans as noted by Mr Roo,
“At the moment we are partly taking responsibility, we are now recommending that all developers have fire hydrants,” he said.
“We are not pushing all the blame to Water PNG, we are making developers responsible for their developments.
“At the moment each fire station maintains regular check-ups of fire hydrants and maintains them as best as they can.”