Rakai fire: Police issue security guidelines

By Simon Masaba

Kayima said schools should have robust fire safety measures like fire hydrants, firefighting equipment, training of the school community in firefighting and setting up assembly points.

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In light of the recent fire incident in which 10 students of St. Bernard’s- Manya SS perished, Police has once again issued security (fire) guidelines to school headteachers.

Police averted 20 other fire attempts in schools between April and Septembers this year, across the country. 

Police spokesperson, Emilian Kayima, told a press conference at the Central Police Station in Kampala this afternoon that  it is imperative that all schools be reminded to take note of the safety guidelines that were issued sometime back.

The guidelines include; activating safety and security committees for staff and learners, controlled access to school premises, holding regular meetings with staff and other people relevant to create awareness and responsiveness and set up crime prevention clubs in schools.

Kayima said schools should have robust fire safety measures like fire hydrants, firefighting equipment, training of the school community in firefighting and setting up assembly points.

Kayima appealed to parents to equally share with schools any valuable information they get from their children so that a nation of sane and responsible citizens is achieved. “By that young people will be able to differentiate evil from good,” Kayima said.

Others are:

 

•   Employing guards on 24/7 hour basis

•   Proper identification system

•   Have a clear record keeping system

•   Conduct regular and snap checks

•   Close working relationship with neighbouring communities

•   Provide professional counselling services to students

•   Avoid burglar proofs in dormitories

Investigations

“We applaud the vigilance from the community and the media who rushed to the school to support and quick response in rescuing the students that were trapped in their dormitory by the criminals that locked them with the intension of having all burnt to ashes,” Kayima said.

According to Kayima, the quick response saved the fire from spreading to the other two dormitories that were directly linked and housed 60 students each. 

“Beyond prosecution, lessons learnt will be shared so that in future, we should be able to protect the facilities better,” Kayima said.

About the probe, Kayima said there is an indication that the students that were recently suspended could have a hand in the crime. By press time, the suspects were under intense grilling from the security agents led by Police. “We call for their parents support as some of them were not accessed by close of day yesterday (Monday),” kayima said.

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