The New Times (Kigali)

18 July 2014

Rwanda: City Traders Urged to Comply With New Fire Safety Regulations

City traders have been urged to adhere to the new fire safety regulations.

Addressing city traders at the Nyarugenge Sector office, the Minister for Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, Seraphine Mukantabana, said the new regulations should not be looked at as a cost but rather a protection of investment.

The new instructions were issued by the Prime Minister, Pierre Habumuremyi, last week, following increasing cases of fire outbreak in the city. About eight cases of fire outbreak have been reported in the last two months.

According to the instructions, public buildings should have fire alarm systems complete with alarm bells, smoke detectors and sprinklers on each floor in case of storied buildings, a fire extinguisher in every 50 metre-radius, hose reels, closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and a control room.

To mitigate the impacts of lightening, buildings should have lightning arresters or rods.

The minister asked businesses to hire professionals to do the installation of their buildings and also ensure that the fire safety systems installed are of the right quality.

Mukantabana said the implementation of the new regulations will help mitigate increasing fire hazards in the country.

She added that to ensure compliance, fire safety assessment will be done for all public buildings every three years.

The Kigali vice mayor in charge of Finance and Economic Development, Alphonse Nizeyimana, dispelled fears that the city did not have enough fire hydrants.

Though investigation into the cause of the fires are still ongoing, the Director General of Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority, Ntare Karitanyi, told The New Times that they were conducting inspections of the power grid to identify areas that could pose potential risks.

He said they were currently involved in sensitising the public about the need to have their installations done by competent technicians.

He also urged the public to report on time anomalies on the power grid to the toll free number 3535. Karitanyi warned about an emerging trend of residential houses or homes being turned into business premises and in the process altering electricity installations.

"It is wise to let the investigations be conducted as they should before we can point out the cause of the fires. In the meantime, we are trying to enforce measures to reduce the occurrence of such hazards," Karitanyi said.

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