The Kenya Red Cross Society ( (KRCS) intends to develop sustainable community fire response by improving capacity and strategy of informal settlement community with Mukuru Fuata Nyayo Informal Settlement as a pilot. The report gives highlights of Fuata Nyayo informal settlement residents’ perceptions on causes of fire and elaborate steps taken in responding to fire incidences in the settlements. The study covered 264 randomly sampled residents, 3 Focus Group Discussions and 11 key informants. The respondents were drawn from the Red Cross Volunteers and the Community Health Volunteers Key Informant Interviews covering all the 11 villages in Fuata Nyayo informal settlements.
Survey findings indicate that the major causes of fire in the settlement are illegal electricity connections, domestic violence, stoves, drunkenness, carelessness and theft related arsonists. It is noted that Fuata Nyayo A is more prone to fire than the other villages.
Findings indicate that the entire community (women, youth and elderly) play complementary roles in responding to fire. The findings also denote that the community has adopted some standard procedures when responding to fire in the settlement, some of the most notable strategies include raising of alarm, evacuation, control of the fire by switching off and disconnecting electricity main supply and demolition of structures. The members of community are active in helping one another put off fire and they also accommodate victims and help the victims with basic foodstuffs and other household needs which is done in collaboration with other actors such as the Kenya Red Cross, Goal, G4S, KK security, among others.
The capacity for community action can be strengthened through training and sensitization on appropriate techniques and procedures for fire mitigation. There is also need to provide community with basic fire control equipment and establish fire stations and sub-stations. KANU ground was proposed as an ideal area location for a community fire station due to availability of space and centrality. Other areas included various chief’s camps within the village, which could be prioritized considering the location in relation to fire prone areas. The chiefs, village chairpersons and elected managers were proposed to take charge of the proposed community fire stations, since they were deemed to be the neutral defenders of the residents. Residents noted that fire response would improve greatly if their capacity to respond to fire can be built through training and provision of equipment. It was also proposed that there should also be some form of community fire sub-station in each village where all the village head is given some few fire response equipment to help them during fire breakout in all villages as they await response from the main community fire station.
The survey concludes that there does exist goodwill in initiating and embracing community fire station as the community is already playing some important roles in responding to fire in the settlement. This can be tapped and institutionalized in such a manner that there is clarity in terms of command and fairly systematized mechanism of responding to fire, taking into account the unique roles of the elderly, youth and women in responding to fire.