By Nawara Fattahova
KUWAIT: A new law (13/2020) was recently issued to reorganize the fire department, which provides more benefits to firefighters. “Although they do a very hard and dangerous job, they don’t get the benefits given to other military officers. This law is a quantum leap for firefighters, which achieves community security and protects lives and properties. It will also improve the performance and skills of firefighters,” Lt Ridha Al-Salman, Head of Social Media at Kuwait Fire Service Directorate (KFSD), told Kuwait Times.
Kuwait Fire Service Directorate will be renamed as Kuwait General Fire Force. “According to this law, a firefighting academy will be founded. The academy will be of international standard and will allow more students to study this field. Presently, 450 to 500 graduates are trained as firefighters annually, but at the new academy, this number will be much higher, and even students from the GCC can join the academy,” Salman said.
“Currently, firefighters only get courses from the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, in addition to training at a fire station. Their certificate is equal to a diploma, but this academy is at the university level. We prepared the curriculum to conform to modern fire sciences and urban development,” he added.
“We need to prepare the firefighters for natural disasters, major accidents and crises. With developing technology and modern lifestyles, we need specialized firefighters able to deal with these circumstances. The academy will accept high school graduates to study firefighting sciences and engineering. More fields may be added according to the needs of the administration. The graduates will be from both diploma and university levels,” stressed Salman.
Women currently work at the fire prevention department, and according to Salman, after the founding of this academy, more courses will be available for them according to the needs of the force. The new law will preserve the material and moral rights of firefighters. “Firefighters deserve receiving more benefits. This includes some allowances similar to officers in the ministry of defense or the ministry of interior. Moral benefits include building a hospital for firefighters and their families. It also includes establishing a club for fire officers and even noncommissioned officers. The government has already allocated land in Messila to build the club,” he revealed.
This law also amended sanctions on violators of fire prevention requirements. “This amendment should eliminate prevention violations, as the penalty was increased from up to KD 500 as maximum fine to up to KD 50,000 as the maximum fine for serious violations, and/or imprisonment up to one year. This is more deterrence for institutions, which will make them follow preventive conditions and secure their sites, which in the end is in their own favor,” explained Salman.
“Before applying these increased sanctions, a media campaign will be held at various organizations. Through this campaign, we aim to make investors and business owners become aware about the new sanctions to achieve full compliance with fire prevention conditions and requirements for more safety at institutions,” he concluded.
The law number 13/2020 to establish the Kuwait General Fire Force became effective after it was published in the national gazette ‘Kuwait Al-Youm’ on September 6, 2020. It explains the regulations that organize the work of the firefighting force in Kuwait, as well as the rights and benefits firefighters enjoy, in addition to penalties in case of violations committed.