The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) in partnership with the Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA) on Friday Match 11th, took its ongoing assessment to the provinces in ensuring fuel stations are following set out standards and are safe to operate within the country.
It could be recalled that the NDMA, through its Directorates of Risk Reduction & Preparedness and Research, Monitoring & Evaluation with support from PRA, started a pilot risk assessment on fuel stations in Freetown on February 14th 2022 with the intention to cover the entire country.
With additional support from PRA, a team of competent assessment officers from the NDMA, headed by the Director of Risk Reduction and Preparedness, Thomas A. Lebbie and the Director of Research, Monitoring and, Abu Bakarr Bangura on Thursday 10th March left Freetown for the provinces to continue the safety and compliance assessment on fuel stations operating therein.
The assessment aims to improve the safety of environments within which fuel stations operate and ensure they pose little or no threat to life and property within those environments.
The assessment team will also focus on the capacity of fuel stations to handle explosions and spillages, the type of fire extinguishers in possession, the safety of staff, the status of storage tanks and dispensers, the correct use of signages, the knowledge base of staff to handle fire outbreaks and availability of tank ventilator.
This effort is part of NDMA’s wider review of the upstream and downstream petroleum industry which focuses on three (3) thematic areas: 1) assessing the safety of the Kissy Fuel Terminal where Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) operate; 2) NDMA in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) to assess the roadworthiness tankers ply to discharge fuel and assess compliance and 3) assess safety levels of fuel stations who conveys fuel to the end-users.
The responsibility as mentioned above came directly from the Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa, who, during a working visit to the kissy oil depot, assigned the NDMA to thoroughly assess existing infrastructures within the petroleum sector, their level of compliance and safety which, according to him, will increase investor confidence as the government seeks to liberalize the industry.
Alieu Malador, a petrol dealer in Makeni along Azolina Highway, during the assessment said he is happy the NDMA is conducting this assessment. He said this exercise will help ensure filling stations across the country comply with regulatory standards upon which licenses were granted.
After this exercise, a detailed report, which seeks to highlight filling stations that were constructed in prohibited areas, those operating below expected standards, will be presented to the PRA with recommendations of appropriate action.
The Directorate of Risk Reduction & Preparedness will continue its people-centred and multi-sector approach, building resilience to multiple, cascading and interacting hazards and creating a culture of prevention and resilience within the country.
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National Disaster Management Agency