“An Investigation into Fire Safety Measures in Kampala Slums.” A Case of Katanga-Wandegeya

Ivan Mbiggo, Kenneth Ssemwogerere


Globally, UN-HABITAT estimates that nearly one billion people live in slums in the cities/towns of developing countries and the annual growth rate in sub-Saharan Africa is almost 5 percent, twice as high as in Latin America and Asia representing a total of 187 million people.  Slums have a very significant contribution towards providing cheap shelter for the urban poor in Uganda’s capital Kampala. Statistics from Uganda Bureau of  Statistics (UBOS) indicate that Uganda has a population of 38 million (2014) with Over 60% of Kampala’s population living in slums.  In the last decade, however the problem of fire hazards in Kampala slums has become quite overwhelming for the City authorities. This research therefore sought to investigate the existing fire safety measures used in slums with the objective of finding ways in which fire safety can be enhanced in slum dwellings. This research revealed that the one roomed house type was most dominant which is inhabited by 3-5 people. 94% of the respondents used charcoal for cooking inside or on the verandahs of such houses. In addition to that, most causes of fires in the slums were due to electric faults due to illegal connections, with exposed wiring. This work recommends that considering the spread of fire, structures should be designed and given minimum space allowance of about 1m so as to limit spread of fire from the original source to the neighborhood structures. Fire brigade should involve the use motorized bikes such as back pack bikes installed with all firefighting equipment which can access the remote areas in slums where fire engines may not reach.

Keywords: Fire safety, slums, fire hazards, Uganda

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5790 ISSN (Online)2225-0514

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