oa Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies - Assessing urban fire risk in the central business district of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Buildings as infrastructure along with people's lives need protection against fire outbreaks. Knowledge on the use of installed facilities is essential in tackling fire emergencies, otherwise their installation becomes meaningless. Lack of such knowledge could hamper escape from fire hazards and thwart attempts to contain fire outbreaks at their preliminary stage. This study, carried out in the Central Business District of Dar es Salaam City, assessed urban fire risk with respect to public awareness on the use of fire fighting facilities and preparedness in the event of fire outbreaks. Public buildings with at least four storeys or 2000m2 floor space were surveyed. According to the Fire and Rescue Act of 2007, such buildings have to be provided with adequate means of escape and fire fighting facilities. Data was collected through observation and interviews with building managers, users and key informants. The study revealed high fire disaster risk in most buildings of the study area, as 60% of the buildings' users do not know how to operate the facilities, and 41% are not aware of the available escape means in case of fire outbreak. Worse still, only 29% had received training within the past five years, and 68% had never been trained.
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