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First quarter of 2016 records 2,469 fire outbreaksĀ - GNFS

Date published: Tuesday, 26th April 2016

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Two thousand four hundred and sixty nine (2,469) fire outbreaks have been recorded within the first quarter of the year as against 2,036 within the same period in 2015; representing 21.27 per cent increase, the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) said on Monday.

The Acting Head of Public Relations of GNFS, Divisional Officer Grade II, Mr Timothy Osarfo Affum, said 145 electrical fires, representing 5.8 per cent of the total fire outbreaks, were recorded.

He said even though this represented a reduction compared to 172 cases, representing 8.4 per cent in 2015, there was a significant shift from domestic related electrical fires as 70 of the 145 fires involved facilities and properties of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

Speaking at a press conference in Accra on the surge in electrical fire outbreaks, especially of ECG facilities, Mr Affum said the facilities included 42 electric poles, 14 high tension poles and 14 transformers.

The regional breakdown were Greater Accra, 31, Ashanti, 21, Brong Ahafo, six, Central, three, two each for Eastern, Northern, Western and Volta, and Upper East, one. Upper West recorded zero.

Mr Affum, therefore, called on the ECG as a matter of urgency to put in measures to forestall the occurrence of fire outbreaks at their facilities and properties as it had consequential effects on GNFS logistics.

“We recommend the creation of fire belts around the electric poles as well as the application of flame retardants to the poles,” he said.

He said the harsh harmattan season contributed immensely to the increase in fires for the first quarter of the year, but the GNFS had consistently been up to the task in spite of some logistical challenges it was encountering.

“To the best of our professional capabilities and resource-availability, we continue to execute proactive strategies to forestall fire outbreaks in Ghana.

“We wish to solicit the total co-operation and support of the public, and I have no doubt in my mind that you, in the media, will spearhead this important agenda,” he said.

Mr Affum said fire safety was a shared responsibility and, therefore, all stakeholders and the public were expected to play their part to ensure a total fire safety and protection for the citizenry.

He said there were reduction in industrial, domestic, commercial and vehicular fires as result of intense fire safety education as well as safety and preventive measures by the GNFS.

“It is, therefore, imperative to appreciate the importance of fire prevention and awareness creation hence the need to put in place measures to minimise or prevent the occurrence of avoidable fires in the country,” he said.

Mr Affum outlined some causes of fire in the country to include unintentional misuse of equipment or appliances, faulty electrical appliances, careless handling of fire or hot substances and lightning strikes.

He said with immediate effect, the GNFS had revoked the fire permit of Lucky Oil, adjacent to Pambros at Weija, and had ordered the owner to stop the construction of the fuel station.

He said this order shall remain effective until such a time that the Chief Fire Officer was satisfied with the safety of the facility to occupiers and neigbours.

Mr Affum, therefore, appealed to stakeholders, specially the Ga South Municipal Assembly, to revoke the final permit issued for the construction of the filling station since the premises was a “fire risk” and a potential threat to the community.

The Director of Fire Safety of the GNFS, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Mr Michael Yarquah, said the Service would continue to take tough measures against filling stations that were flouting the laws of the country.

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