THE National Fire Authority has recorded 12 fire deaths this year, seven of whom were children between the ages of one and 16.
This was revealed by Local Government Minister Colonel Samuela Saumatua.
Speaking at the Strategic Planning Workshop at the Novotel Hotel in Lami yesterday, Col. Saumatua said NFA's engagement with the government was part of a larger commitment to reinvigorate the country's economic stability.
"The direct losses of fires per year, if valued, run into millions and millions of dollars," he said.
Col. Saumatua said disruptions to businesses and the lives of families were a direct outcome of fires.
He said the board, management and stakeholders involved in the fire industry needed to consider effective strategies that would result in the reduction of fire incidents in the short and long-term.
"Once we minimise or eliminate fire incidents in the community, we also eliminate fire deaths," he said.
Col. Saumatua said the workshop would allow NFA to review the results and effectiveness of strategies outlined in the 2007 Strategic Roadmap for fire safety.
"This workshop will enable NFA to formulate new strategies for 2013 and onwards," he said.
Col. Saumatua said a total change in the culture and mind-set within the communities was also needed to realise the achievement of zero fire incidents and deaths.