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This study examines the spatial distribution and utilization of fire services in Benin City, Edo State. The study encompasses the background of study, statement of the problem, aim and objectives, research methodology, findings and so on.

Spatial distribution and utilization of fire services in Benin City denote the way or process by which the Benin City fire service station tends to curb fire incidents within Benin City to eradicate any possible losses of lives and properties. This study addresses some of the enormous problems confronting the Benin City Fire Service station in terms of the basic infrastructural facilities such as inadequate water supply, good roads and other basic problems such as inadequate fire service stations, shortage of fire fighters vehicle, lack of effective communication system, obsolete equipment, road traffic jams, neglect by the government, shortage of manpower, lack of welfare package for officers and men of the fire service (this include attractive salary and insurance  policy) etc. The aim and objectives of this study are geared towards examining the spatial distribution of fire service station in Benin City, to examine the utilization of the fire service stations in Benin City, to examine the causes/prevention and mitigation of fire outbreak in Benin City to minimize the loss of life and property caused by fire, to make suggestions and recommendations on how to improve on the services of the Benin Fire Station. In carrying out this study, both primary and secondary sources of data were used as an instrument. From the analysis and presentation of data, the result shows that the Benin City Fire Service Station is ineffective in rendering its services of protection of lives and property. Lack of water supply, deplorable roads, vehicles, shortage of manpower, shortage of fire service stations in Benin, distance problem in rendering their services among other have resulted to ineffective and inefficient services in the Benin City Fire Service Station. It is based on these findings that this study seeks to recommend some possible solutions that would readdress the various socio-economic and institutional barriers to effective fire disaster and risk reduction in Benin City.





This research investigates the spatial distribution and utilization of fire services in Benin metropolis. Fire is the state of burning, in which substances combine chemically with oxygen from the air and gives out bright light, heat, and smoke. Fire is a collection of fuel burnt in a hearth or stove for heating or cooking (concise English dictionary). Fire is the state of burning, an instance of destructive burning, wood or coal burnt to provide heat, a gas or electric heater. (MSDict viewer version 2.11).

Fire also involves flames that are out of control and destroy buildings, trees, cars, documents, lives, properties etc. (Oxford Advanced Leaner’s Dictionary). Fire is the rapid burning of combustible material with the evolution of heat and usually accompanied by flame. It is the rapid combination of oxygen with fuel in the presence of heat, typically characterized by flame, a body of incandescent gas that contains and sustains the reaction and emits light and heat. Rapid combination of oxygen with fuel in the presence of heat. Oxygen, fuel and heat are the essential ingredients of fire (Wenhsingyu, 2002).

Fire involves burning, it’s combustible. It is typically characterized by flame, flame is not just the result of fire, it is the fire, without the flame’s heat the fire would go out. (Adams 2002). Fire is man’s friend when under control butif out of control, it kills and destroys (FSW, 2001). Therefore fire is regarded as a good and bad servant and bye- product of affluence (FSW, 2011).

Fire can be initiated both by lighting and humans, however in Nigeria, fires are mainly caused by human intervention and its frequency is rapidly increasing (Balogun and Ahmed, 2004). Fire presents a significant hazard in metropolitan region where the loss of human life and personal property can be very severe.

Fire service stations are a “system” of facilities and are capital improvements related to land use and population density. Urban planners can therefore make important contributions in location of fire stations. (Principles and practices of urban planning” governmental and community facilities). Fire service has been conceived at as an organized public service having the primary objective of preventing fires from occurring and reducing the loss of life and properties.  (Principles and practice of urban planning on governmental and commonly facilities).

Fire protection services and fire service related activities are conducted in relation to both the characteristics of the population. Individual or in combination, spatial, social and economic factors contribute to the incidence of fire and to the response capability of fire protection services. These factors to a large extent determine the nature of the hazards and influence the location of fire station and the effective delivery of services (king, 1990).

Fire spatial distribution consideration are primary to planning fire services in order to determine the distribution of fire stations and their specific location given social and economic needs and existing communication and transportation networks. Non-spatial aspects ranging from the nature of the fire to that of the fire services itself. Its resource inputs, organizational set-up and resources allocations and deployment policies for fire services delivery are also involved. While most features of the spatial environment are relatively static. For instance, the urban layout, non-spatial aspects are continuously changing(brahim and Faisal, 1990).

In spatial distribution and utilization of fire services location, a commonly method of locating fire services facilities is based on geography and landuse. In its simplest form, this method relates the location of facilities to a predetermined structural limit of the city such as an urban sector on district of a given population size(Ibrahim and Faisal, 1990). A fire services area population ranges anywhere from 10,000 – 80,000. For instance, an urban district having a population of 1535,000 is commonly suggested to be an appropriate limit for the location of fire station (Ibrahim and Faisal, 1990).

Fire disaster causes heavy causalities and great loss of social wealth, so the plan of fire station is significant for city development (Guo and Tang, 1998). Fire station should be located with ready access to both ways of primary or distribution roads. Regards should be made to the traffic circulation pattern and interchange, it should be located to it nearness to water supply.

It is recommended that the provision and sitting of fire stations within the urban and rural areas should be based on a graded response time determined by a fire risk category system. The response time is the period of time between the time of the fire call received by the fire services communication centre and the time of arrival of the fire services resources at the scene of the fire. (community facilities, fire service facilities policy on fire fighting endorsed by executives council in April 1977).


Fire-alarm: A bell or other device that gives people warming of a fire in a building

Fire-Bomb: A bomb that makes a fire start burning after it explodes.

Fire-Break: A thing that stops a fire from spreading

Fire-Brigade: (also Fire Service), Fire department:An organization of people that are trained and employed to put out fires and to rescue people from fire

Fire-Door: a heavy door that is used to prevent a fire from spreading in a  building

Fire- Drill: A practice of what people must do in order to escape safety from a fire in a building

Fire-Engine: A special vehicle that carries equipment for fighting large fires.

Fire-Escape: A metal staircase or ladder in the outside of a building, which people can use to escape from a fire.

Fire-extinguisher: A metal container with water on chemicals inside for putting out small fires

Fire-fighter: A person whose job is to put out fires

Fire-Hose: A long tube that is used for directing water unto fires

Fire-house: A fire station in a small town

Fire Hydrant: A pipe in the street that water can be pumped from in order to put out fires

Fire-light: The light that comes from a fire in a room

Fire-man: A person, usually a man whose job is to put out fires

Fire-service: fire brigade

Fire- station: a building for a fire brigade or for department and its equipment

Fire-storm: A very large fire, usually started by bombs, that is not under control and is made worse by the winds that it causes


The Nigeria fire service is one of the several agencies responsible for disaster management.

According to the charter of the federal fire service, its statutory responsibilities cut giving impulse to capacity building of the nations fire services through the establishment and monitoring of standards in fire prevention, fire education and training, national fire statistics and promotion of legislative instruments for a fire safe nation as well as promotion of capacity building in the state fire services through manpower development, appropriate fire stations and equipment and effective commonly based fire safety outfits


In setting the goals and objectives of a national fire policy, fire safety must been seen in the context of overall national development in relation to.

  1. National economic development packages
  2. Social development
  3. Distribution of services

When the goals are concise, achievable and acceptable to the population distribution, safety comes in. Nigeria as a nation cannot isolate itself from international community, her social and economic packages cannot be seen as safe without corresponding fire prevention and protection portfolio.

As a matter of policy all committees set up to faction out national urban renewals or national housing or urban development polices should include input from fire service. The ultimate goal of a nation fire policy shall be to ensure that all:

  1. Fire services must participate within the institutional framework of national housing, national urban development, and national urban renewal policies in order to render fire service operations more responsive to the demands of the nation.
  2. Promote active participation in fire safety delivery by all tiers of government.
  3. Participation by the private sector in fire safety delivery must be encouraged.
  4. Establish appropriate institutional framework to facilitate effective arrangement in fire safety development at all level of planning.
  5. Adequate empowerment of fire services to visit buildings, especially those under construction right up to their finishing.
  6. Provide adequate local and international training including conferences and seminars for fire services personnel.
  7. Provide properly trained and equipped breathing apparatus unit in each duty shift in fire services.
  8. Provide uniform and complete set of protective wears to promote efficient fire service delivery.


Following the conceptual framework and literature review of this study, it is necessary to advance some propositions on which empirical studies would prove either true or false later in this essay. This hypothesis embraces the effect of distance, population sizes of towns investment, level of towns and the material status of the Benin Metropolis.

The first of such hypothesis is:

  1. That the demand for the services of the Benin City Fire Station will decrease with increasing distance from the fire station.
  2. That the larger the population of Benin metropolis, the higher the number of fire service station originating from it.
  • The greater the number of investors in Benin metropolis, the greater the demand for fire Brigade services.
  1. Spatial distribution of fire service station in Benin City is not a function and a guarantee to curbing fire incident in Benin City
  2. There is no significant difference between the level of property loss and property saved to fire incident in Benin City
  3. There is no significant relationship between spatial location of fire service station and access to good roads.


  1. Formulation, monitoring and evaluation of policies on national fire safety delivery, preparation and submission to the federal government as situation demands
  2. Proposals for national fire safety development programmes and plans, provision at inputs for the construction of public structures and all buildings above four floors such as corporate headquarters of ministries and parastatals.

Fire covers four major events hosted by the government, they are.

  1. Resource persons for commissions of enquiry whenever they are set up to investigate the cause of a fire incidence.
  2. Provide recommendations to forestall future occurrences.
  3. Promotion of fire prevention and basic fire fighting in markets, schools, hospitals, industries, corporate organizations and the hospitality industry.
  4. Fostering of interaction between federal fire service and fire services in the states in order to enhance community for safety partnerships aimed at minimizing careless fire outbreaks.


  1. To prevent fire and accidents from occurring.
  2. Educating the community by visiting schools, community centers and people in their own homes.
  3. Advising people about planning escape routes within their own homes in case of fire.
  4. Actively seeking to understand and to value diverse individuals and groups.



  1. Shortage of fire stations
  2. Lack of effective communication system
  3. Shortage of water supply
  4. Obsolete equipment
  5. Poor training
  6. Shortage of manpower
  7. Lack of welfare package for officers and men of the fire service (this include attractive salary and insurance policy)
  8. Road traffic jams.
  9. Low rating and lack of confidence among Nigerian populace
  10. Neglect by the government

Federal Fire Service (FFS) is an agency under the Federal Ministry of Interior and the ministry is responsible for the budget allocation to the service. Perhaps because fire service does not generate income to government as other agencies in the ministry such as Nigeria Immigration Service and Nigeria Customs Service, coupled with our notoriety at misplaced priorities, Nigeria fire service is perennially starved of fund. This attitude must change if we intend to have an effective and efficient fire Brigade.

In October 2009, the first National Fire Conference was held in Abuja. At the end of the conference, the following resolutions were reached. The immediate implementation of the report of the committee on the reorganization of fire services in the country as approved by the federal executive council and ratified by the council on establishment, review of the present fire fighters training modules for continuous professional development establishment of more fire stations to reduce response time during emergencies; improved water supply within the metropolis with hydrants located at not more than 100 metres along the reticulation lines as well as for every fire station to have a water tanker of not less than 10,000 litres capacity as an interim solution, improved communication system for better management of emergencies for enhanced safety delivery and to expedite action on the three-digit toll-free national emergency number, better surveillance of the country’s water ways, improved fire fighters personal protective gears and accident insurance policy, joint training or stimulation and mock exercises for all disaster responders to enhance operational cooperation, command and control approval of a proposed national fire safety code and improved funding by the government for the federal fire services at states and federal levels.

Finally, it was also revealed by the Controller General of the federal fire services, Mr. Olusegun James Okebiorun, an engineer, that a fire academy which will be the official fire training institution for the country with its main campus in Abuja be set-up (Jide, 2009).


This research is focused to review the various problems militating against spatial distribution and utilization of fire service in Benin metropolis

Following the spate of fire outbreaks in Benin metropolis in recent times, authorities of the Edo State Fire Service have attributed its inability to meet most of the challenges to the dearth of facilities and manpower (Idris, 2012).

In a chart with the Edo State city file in Benin City, Mike Oshiokpekhai the director, Edo State Fire Service, reeled out some of the challenges confronting the agency to include:

  1. Lack of functioning vehicles
  2. Lack of man power
  3. Shortage of fire stations
  4. Lack of effective communication system
  5. Poor training
  6. Lack of functioning industrial borehole etc.

According to Mike Oshiokpekahai, on a report of the Edo State Fire service published on city file, he said “we don’t have vehicles, our own loading water centre. The state government has not provided us with borehole and we go to places like Guinness Company in Ikpoba Hill and Benin Owene River Basin Authority offices to refill our vehicles tank whenever water got finished. He said the fire service station belongs to the state government and there is only one functioning fire fighting vehicle in Benin City which also serving the entire Edo State. In the whole of Benin City, we have only one public fire service station founded in 1963.

The only fire station in Benin metropolis cannot adequately and effectively render its service of protection, prevention and saving of lives and properties within Benin City. It is generally agreed that the first five minutes of any fire is the determining factor as to whether that fire will remain small fire or become large fire (Ibrahim and Faisal, 1990).

Also, in my personal interview with the Benin City Fire Service station, the principal fire superintendent (PSF). The problem includes:

  1. Distance problem in rendering their services
  2. Road traffic jams
  3. Obsolete equipment
  4. Problem of communication gadget
  5. Fire service vehicle
  6. Lack of welfare package for officers and men of the fire service
  7. Lack of fund
  8. Lack of manpower

The reports from the Edo State fire service by the state fire boss (Oshiokpekhai) pointed out that the agency was always at a receiving and whenever it was unable to curtail fire incident, however called on members of the public to be conscious of what they store in their houses and offices as well as to always have fire extinguishers.




The main aim of this research is to achieved the following objectives

  1. To examine the spatial distribution of fire service station in Benin City
  2. To examine the utilization of fire service stations in Benin city
  3. To examine the causes/prevention and mitigation of fire outbreak in Benin City
  4. To minimize the loss of life and property caused by fire
  5. To make suggestions and recommendations for establishment of more public fire stations in Benin city to reduce response time during emergencies and how to improve the services of the Benin fire Stations.


  1. Between January 2009 and September 2011, estimated property worth 464 million was lost to fire incident in Benin City (Edo State Fire Service : City file report)
  2. Loss of life and vital documents
  3. Loss of resources.


The scope of the study is the Benin metropolis which comprised of three (3) local government Areas (LGAs) which are: Oredo, Egor and Ikpoba-Okha

This research is focused on the spatial distribution and utilization of fire service stations in Benin metropolis. It comprises of the distribution, utilization causes of fire outbreaks in Benin City, prevention and mitigation against fire incident and suggestions and recommendations on how to improve the services of the Benin City fire station


The relevance and significant of the spatial distribution and utilization of fire services in Benin city is to redefine the passive role of the state government and that of the fire-fighters to minimize and prevent lost of life and property caused by fire outbreak.

  1. To investigates cause of fire incidence and provide recommendations to forestall future occurrences and to promote fire prevention and basis fire fighting in markets, schools, industries, corporate organizations and the hospitality industry and fostering of interaction between the Edo State government and the Benin City fire service station
  2. To provide and promote efficient fire service delivery in Benin City.
  3. To provide a reference point or frame work for any future fire outbreak in Benin City.

Study Area

The study area is the Benin City Fire Service Station. It was established in 1963.

The Benin City fire station is under ministry of transport. It comprises of two main section;

  • Administrative sectors
  • Operational sector

The Administrator Sector is located along Forestry Road, while the Operational Sector is located Oredo.

The administrator sector is responsible for all administrative functions within the Benin city fire service station while the operational sector is responsible for preventing, protecting and extinguishing all fire incidents within the Benin City.

The study area is the Benin City. A City in the South-South geopolitical zone in Nigeria. It is the capital of Edo State.

Benin City is about 161km (100mi) long. The city is known for its bronze works of art. It is an ancient but modernizing city, with trade, commerce, government bodies, educational establishments and a rising population. It is the home of the ancient Benin kingdom. It is the capital of Edo State.It is the home of the ancient Benin Kingdom and it is the first city to have contact with the Europeans in the 15th century.

The Benin City’s power lasted between the 15th and 19th century. Their dominance reached as far as the city of Eko (an Edo name later changed to Lagos by the Portuguese).

Benin City is a city approximately 25 miles north of the Benin river. It is situated 200 miles by road east of Lagos. Benin is the centre of Nigeria’s rubber industry.

The mythic origins of Benin City state that the city was originally under the rule of Ogisos, meaning the “King of the sky.”


Benin City is located in the south-south geopolitical zone of Nigeria. It is located within the geopolitical coordinates of latitudes 6o ON and 6o 26 N and longitudes 5o35. E and 5o41 E.


Benin City is the home to some of Nigeria’s institution of higher learning, namely the university of Benin, Benson Idahosa University, School of Health etc Benin City also has one of the best secondary schools in Nigeria and these include, Edo College, Asoro Grammar school, Eghosa Grammar School, Edokpolor Grammar school, Niger College, Idia College, University of Benin Demonstration Secondary School, Benin Technical College etc.


Benin City is a heterogeneous society with the Bini speaking people forming the dominant ethnic group.

Attractions in the city include the national Museum Benin City, the Oba Palace, Igun Street (famous for bronze casting and other metal works for centuries). Other attractions include various festivals and the Benin Moats (measuring about 20 to 40 ft), the famous king’s square on Ring Road and its traditional markets. Beninese are known for bronze sculpture, its casting skills and their arts and craft.

Benin City is also reputed taking in one of the oldest sustained monarchies in the world. Various festivals are held in Benin City yearly to celebrate various historic occasions and seasons. Igwe Festival is the most popular of the festivals where the Oba celebrates the history and culture of his people and blesses the land and the people.

Socio-economic Activities

The Benin people are involved in occupations such as trade, modern craft, traditional craft and a variety of other non-agricultural occupations (Onokerhoraye, 1994).

The Benin City is also diversified in terms of commerce and industry.



Benin City is a fast growing urban centre. From a population of 5, 753 in 1952, Benin City reaches a population size of 100,674 in 1963 and was estimated at 249,437 in 1972 (Sada, 1976).

According to the 1991 and 2006 of the Benin City estimated population figures, Benin City has a population of 780,976 and 1147,188.

Also, as at 2011 the population of Benin city is estimated to be 1.3 million Dr. Osirike in (Geo314)

Recent Development in Benin City

Since Adams Oshiomole assumed office in August 2008, the City has embarked in construction of new roads, ring-road beautification and job creation. A bustling commercial centres has developed, economic and efficient buses were bought by the current administration to ease traffic.