Kisii County Government will set up a KShs.50million Disaster Management Academy to enhance capacity in handling disasters.
Speaking during the opening of a five-day training on fire safety at the Kisii Agricultural Training Centre (ATC), Governor James Ongwae said plans had been finalized for the project.
He said the academy would offer training that will improve knowledge and capacity in disaster management. Experts from Minnesota State’s Fire Department, USA are leading the training. Fire fighters, enforcement officers, Sub County administrators and directors from various departments are attending the training.
"Kisii County has grown exponentially over the past few years during which time we have experienced a number of disasters ranging from fire outbreaks to collapse of buildings. We are committed to build capacity to handle such disasters and this is why we have decided to launch this academy," said the Governor.
He said funds for the project would be factored in the supplementary budget and in the financial estimates for the next financial year, 2016/2017. The County Government has already identified land to house the project and completed other modalities.
"We are collaborating with fire experts from the US so as to model our disaster management program on the best. These experts will help us develop the curriculum for comprehensive disaster management training. We target to train community leaders and responders to emergencies as well as volunteers," added Governor Ongwae.
Commander Mark Lynde asked the County to equip the fire department and decentralize fire safety services to the Sub Counties in order to reduce response time to about 4 minutes in the event of disasters.
"The Kisii Fire Department needs modern equipment including a large capacity fire engine, a portable water tank, chain saws, chop saws, hydraulic cutting tools, a small command vehicle and nine response vehicles," said Commander Lynde.
He noted that Kisii has unique challenges in disaster management citing the hilly terrain and access to sites. Governor Ongwae tasked the Chief Officer for Administration Patrick Lumumba to work with the experts on specifications fro the required tools and equipment to facilitate their purchase.