Blantyre City Council (BCC) mayor Noel Chalamanda has said the council is now better placed to provide cover during fire accidents in the city.
Chalamanda said this when the Japanese Fire Fighters Association on Monday handed over a fire engine to BCC to help it in times of fire accidents.
He said: “Our target is to arrive at the fire scene within five minutes whenever we get an alarm. We are currently at 20 minutes. We are just appealing for more support from government and well-wishers to turn that dream into a reality.”
Chalamanda said the donation has brought to four the number of fire engines the city council has, although the others have spare part problems , and what it requires now is sponsorship and advanced tours for fire brigades, be it locally or internationally.
Speaking when he presented the fire engine on behalf of the association, Japanese Embassy first secretary Kohei Sakamoto said the donation is meant to empower the city council to effectively fight fires in times of need.
He said: “Fire outbreaks are counter-productive and deter economic development in a country. Blantyre City Council has got old fire engines that were hindering the council from delivering properly and it is against this background that we thought of donating the fire engine.”
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa, who received the donation on behalf of the council, said the importance of a fire engine cannot be overemphasised as it will turn BCC into a safe and secure place for its residents.