An investigation into fire safety measures in Kampala slums . A case of katanga-wandegeya.
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The problem of fire hazards in slums is so rampant and existing authorities have not done much to ensure safety of people from accidents caused by fire. Statistics from Uganda Bureau of Standards indicate that Uganda has a population of 38 million with Over 60% of Kampala‟s population living in slums. This research seeks to investigate the existing fire safety measures used in slums with objectives to find ways in which fire safety can be enhanced in slum dwellings; to find out what fire safety strategies exist within slums; to understand how spatial use of spaces in slums contributes to deficiency in fire safety and propose ways in which slums can be made safe from fire hazards. Mixed methodologies i.e. quantitative and qualitative methods were adopted in this research and they were achieved using tools such as questionnaires, tape measure, sketching and observations. Questionnaire survey was both open and closed ended; carried out to investigate the occupant‟s characteristics, behaviors and their perceptions concerning fire safety in this area. Photography was carried out to have a proper record of events during this study; tape measures were used to determine specific dimensions of spaces, openings, distances of travel for occupants from the interior space of their dwellings in the event of a fire. Observations were carried out to identify any problems encountered and other non-verbal cues which the respondents could not disclose. The major findings showed that the one roomed house type dominated other house types in this area rented out by tenants who shared the space amongst 3-5 people represented by 82% of the study sample of 50 respondents. In addition to that, a study on the fuels used for cooking and lighting showed that 94% of the respondents used charcoal for cooking and 66% of respondents used electricity for lighting respectively. Furthermore, it was observed that most causes of fires in this area were due to electric faults and this was characterized by illegal connections, with exposed wiring which rendered people‟s property and lives to fire hazards represented by 43% of the study sample of 50 respondents. Electric wiring at 42% and congestion were the means by which fire was transmitted to the neighborhood of the affected areas in the event of a fire outbreak. Among the recommendations made was treatment of the cooking spaces by responding to the type of materials used, having localized water points for various rows of tenements, spacing of structures while considering design with fire resistance walls.