Committee to source funding for Ghana Fire Service

A Committee on High Rise Building is sourcing funds to purchase two fire tenders that can go beyond three floors for the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS).

The committee, Chaired by Mr Kwesi Bentil of the Bank of Ghana, is made up of representatives of Social Security and National Trust properties Department, GNFS, Silver Star Auto Ltd, Agricultural Development Bank, National Insurance Commission, Ghana Association of Bankers and the National Communication Authority.

At a press conference organised by the Committee and the GNFS in Accra on the recent out fire outbreaks in the country, Mr Bentil said it had become necessary to get fire tenders for the service to complement government’s efforts.

He said the fire that gutted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was a wake-up call for organisations in high rise building, hence the need to look for funding to purchase the tenders valued between $1.5 and $2.0 million.

Fire, he noted, would always be around due to human activities and negligence and the best way out was to put in place measures to mitigate its effect should it happen.

The Chief Fire Officer, Mr William Brown-Acquaye told the press conference that the GNFS had observed with great concern the rate of fire outbreaks in the country.

He said the GNFS had demonstrated its commitment to enhance public safety by initiating a campaign dubbed “Operation Fire Alert”, which started in October last year and was expected to end in September this year.

Under the Operation Fire Alert, the GNFS has intensified its fire safety audits in the ministries and some selected public buildings as well as increasing the frequency of routine fire safety inspection.

The service, he said, had started pubic fire safety education at lorry parks, market places and at the community level and expressed worry about the sub-standard electrical equipment and gadgets on the market.

He called for the empowerment of the Ghana Standards Board to check to these inferior goods.

Mr Brown-Acquaye noted that Act 537 of 1997 mandated the creation of Fire Service Technical Advisory committee to ensure that fire fighting and protection equipment imported or manufactured locally conformed to specification determined by the GNFS Council.

This means that all importers and exporters are expected to contact the committee for inspection, testing and approval before such items are imported.

Mr Brown-Acquaye said though statistics indicated a reduction in fire outbreaks, the GNFS regret the loss of properties and historical heritage of the nation.

He said while there were 55 outbreaks in January 2009, there were 42 in January 2010, indicating a decline.

Mr Brown-Acquaye said national statistics indicated that in 2008 there were 3,249 fire outbreaks while 2009 recorded 2,584 indicating a reduction of 665.

Fire safety requirements stipulate that buildings are required to have safe and effective means of escape and adequate fire fighting equipment.

Buildings are also expected to have satisfactory fire detection, warning and suppression systems, Mr Brown-Acquaye said.

He cautioned the public to obtain approval before extending their buildings or carry out structural alteration.

The Chief Fire Officer also recommended among other things that all buildings that have been in existence for more than 10 years must contract electrical engineers to inspect and test the wiring system and carry out electrical rewiring.

He assured Ghanaians of the GNFS’ commitment to combat fires and ensure safety in premises.

He said the GNFS would live up to the challenges associated with international standards in road traffic collision rescue operation, adding that throughout Africa only Ghana and South Africa measured up to international standards.

Hotlines of the GNFS are 021-772446 and 021-779637.

Source: GNA

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