Organisation of Essential Services in Mauritius

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7th Sep 2017 Health Reference this

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3.0 Introduction

The level of activities at the MFRS is very high and includes a cocktail of hazards and risks to the H&S of its employees. In any essential service organization, where there is poor H&S management system, the fire fighter’s safety is compelled to be affected and impaired. Therefore, the provision of adequate H&S measures become necessary as it greatly contributes to enhance fire fighter’s safety and health.

3.1 An overview of the Fire Service Department in Mauritius

http://fsd.govmu.org/English/PublishingImages/bullets%20and%20photos/map14_8X16.jpg

  • Port Louis
  • Coromandel
  • Quatre Bornes
  • Curepipe
  • St Aubin
  • Mahebourg
  • Flacq
  • Piton
  • Triolet

3.1.1. History and Foundation

Founded in the year 1906 the first fire station was erected in the centre of Port-Louis and named Port Louis Municipal Fire Station. At this date Mauritius had 11 stations including 4 Municipals, 4 districts, 1 Mauritius Marine Limited (MMA), 1 Airport Mauritius Limited (AML) and 1 Port-Mathurin, Rodrigues. But, nowadays with the exception of the AML, MMA and Port- Mathurin Fire Station, the other fire station has merged into the Government Fire Services under the Ministry of Local Government with addition of two more fire stations. However, with rapid development and complexity of incidents the fire services has added more tasks in their duties and hence has added rescue operation where fire fighters provide paramedic services as well. This is why it is now called the Fire and Rescue Services Department. (Fire Services Act, 1947, Mauritius).

Henceforth, MFRS is responsible for ensuring the people of the republic of Mauritius are supported by and benefit from, an effective disaster and emergency management system and essential emergency response services. The MFRS provides fire mitigation and management services, emergency rescue and disaster management services.

It currently operates 9 Fire Stations manned by about 800 fire fighters working on 4 shifts to provide fire and emergency cover for the whole country with a population of about 1.2 million. This gives us a fire fighter-to-population ratio of 1 fire fighter on duty for every 7000 in population to respond to an annual average of 5000 to 6000 fires, about 2000 non-fire incidents with a fleet of about 40 fire fighting vehicles.

3.1.3 Organigram of the Fire and Rescue Services. (Appendix)

3.1.4. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE DIFFERENT SECTIONS.

1. Fire Prevention

  • Issuing of fire certificate, fire clearance and certificate of registration.
  • Inspection of places where the above certificates can be issued like high rise buildings, shops, industries and so on.
  • Carrying out fire awareness campaigns at workplaces and schools.
  • Performing fire drills for fire alertness.

2. Operation.

  • Indulging in fire fighting.
  • Carry out rescue operation, for example; road accidents, rescue of animals.
  • Render other special services, for example; floods, cyclones and tsunami.
  • Carryout safety talks at community level.
  • Carrying out fire drills at station level.

3. Control Room Unit

  • Hazards emergency calls ( Dial the hotline 115)
  • Mobilize suitable operational (at station level) resources.
  • Notify other agencies relevant to incident.
  • Produce relevant support in dealing with emergency.
  • Record and maintain data relating to emergency.

4. Hydrant

  • Maintenance of fire hydrant.
  • Installation of new hydrant.
  • Seek location for water sources.

5. Training unit

  • Carrying the training for new recruit’s fire fighters.
  • Performing refreshers training to fire fighters in relation to their duties.
  • Giving lectures in connection with fire awareness campaigns.

3.1.5. Division of Labour. Fire services in Mauritius comprises of about 700 staffs which include the following:

RANK. NO

TASKS

QUANTITY

First

Chief Fire Officer (CFO)

1

Second

Deputy Chief Officer (DCFO)

3

Third

Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO)

5

Fourth

Divisional Officer (DO)

6

Fifth

Senior Station Officer (SSO)

9

Sixth

Station Officer (STNO)

42

Seventh

Sub Station Officer (SO)

61

Eighth

Fire Fighter (FF)

673

Table 3.1: Division of labour

  • CFO- Head of department.
  • DCFO-Assist the CFO in his daily routine work.
  • ACFO-Assist the DCFO in his work.
  • DO- Responsible for controlling a number of sections or stations.
  • SSO-Responsible for the management of only one particular station.
  • STNO-Responsible for controlling a particular team (watch) in a station.
  • SO-Assist the STNO in his daily station routine work.
  • FF-Carry out all operations work like firefighting rescue and other cognate duties.

3.2. Vision of the MFRS.

To have a Republic of Mauritius free from the dangers of fire and other emergency threats and safe to live, work and visit anytime and anywhere.

3.3. Mission of the MFRS

The mission of the Fire Services Department is to:

  1. Save life
  2. Effect rescue in Road Traffic Accident, flooding, cyclone, tsunami and other natural calamities.
  3. Protect properties endangered by fire and the environment.
  4. Effect special services.
  5. Render humanitarian services and give advice on fire prevention and protection measures.

3.4. The strategic goals of the MFRS are dedicated to build a safe Mauritius society by:

  • Reduce the number of fires, road accidents and other emergency incidents.
  • Reduce the severity of injuries in fire, road traffic accidents and other emergency vehicles.
  • Reduce commercial, economic and social impact of fires and other emergency incidents.
  • Create a safe working environment for our fire fighters.
  • Safe guard the environment and heritage (both built and natural).
  • Provide a sustainable service that demonstrate quality and best value service provision.
  • Building public confidence in the fire services.
  • Continually develop the resources available to meet changing needs.
  • Working effectively with all their partners and stakeholders.

3.5. Health and Safety at MFRS.

With the promulgation of the OSHA in the year 2007, the minister proclaimed that this act shall bind the state as per Section 3 of OSHA 2005.

3.5.1. Health and Safety Officer.

At the MFRS, there is no such appointed officer. However, there are safety officers from the Ministry who come on regular OSH audit to identify risks to S&H. They recommend in writing all recommendations and measures that have to be implemented by the employers. The role of Health and safety Officer (HSO) is to implement appropriate training program to meet the requirements of OSHA 2005, but it can be argued that this requirement is not met. It should be noted that practically all the hazards and risk pertaining to the job of firefighters are found on incident ground. So, HSO from the ministry caters for only 5% of H&S of fire-fighters.

3.5.2. Role of Incident Commander as HSO.

The incident commander has the duty to supervise and monitor the safety and health of fire fighters on incident ground. He must carry a dynamic risk assessment with the continuous changing environment because new hazards, emerged with increased risks. Unfortunately, those commanders have not been given S&H training and carryout their job without caring for the S&H of fire-fighters.

3.5.3. Medical Check up.

According to section 77 of OSHA, a medical check up is carried out periodically at the public hospitals as recommended by the Occupational physician. Unluckily some firefighters do not attend medical appointment.

3.5.4. First Aid

According to section 45 of OSHA 2005 and First Aid Regulation, first aid boxes with appropriate items are to be placed at conspicuous place. At fire stations, there are first aid boxes but there are missing first aid items or else they are out of date.

3.5.5. Health and Safety Training

Section 5 of OSHA 2005 stipulates the duties of employer where training is an important element for the health and safety of personnel. Despite the fact that there are qualified firefighters with Bsc honors working in private companies as HSO, the MFRS have never used the competency of these firefighters to undergo any S&H training.

Consequently, they lack information and instructions on proper use of PPE’s, tools, equipment and how to carryout their jobs in a safe and healthy manner.

3.6 Summary

This chapter has provided an overview at MFRS, stressing on the mission, vision, strategic, goals and task organization. The role of incident Commander as HSO, general S&H in the MFRS, S&H training.

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