Adherence To Standard Operational Procedures For Fire Mitigation And Response In Informal Settlements: The Case Of Mathare And Sinai Slums
Mohamed, Ahmed K.
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The purpose of the study was to establish the adherence to standard operational procedures for fire mitigation and response in informal settlements focusing on Mathare and Sinai slums. The research was anchored on the following specific objectives; to identify policy guidelines on settlements in Nairobi and the extent to which they have been violated within the informal settlement, to establish the extent to which the violations of these guidelines lead to vulnerability to fire hazards in Nairobi's informal settlements, to assess the capacity of the community and other support systems to respond to fires in Nairobi and to examine the existing mitigation and preparedness strategies to combat fires in the informal settlements. The research was designed to survey household in the informal settlement and used interview guides and questionnaires in collecting primary data. The data collected was analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. The population of the study comprised of 72 residents of the informal settlements, 10 fire officers from the Nairobi Fire Station and 5 respondents from the Kenya Red Cross Society. Purposive sampling was used in the study because of time, finances, and its accessibility in the selection of the respondents for the study. The main findings of the study are that; fire outbreaks in households are increasing, the response and mitigation by the fire department was untimely and inadequate, while the community's response was the most effective. The conclusion was; fire problems are increasing; the written functions of the fire brigade were sufficient but were lacking in terms of equipment and adequate trained staff; slums are too congested for effective countering of fire and the residents' knowledge of what is to be done in case of fire was good but was limited by factors beyond their controls like equipment and space. Hence, the research recommended that the policy guidelines should be reinforced to avoid violation that leads to vulnerability of fire hazards in Nairobi's informal settlements in addition it should involve reducing or eradicating slums through enhanced housing policy and slum upgrading programmes.