GNFS holds meeting on home fire safety

By
Hafsa Obeng, GNA

Accra, Sept. 7, GNA
– The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has held a stakeholders meeting on
home fire safety certification project dubbed: “Dumgya” in Accra.

The meeting brought
stakeholders across the country on a single platform to contribute and share
ideas about the best ways to tackle domestic fire outbreak within the shortest
possible time.

Divisional Officer
II (DOII), Timothy Affum, said domestic home fires are now the biggest
challenge of the GNFS.

He said within 2011
to 2015, a total of 24,500 fires occurred across the country out of which
domestic fires emanating from individual homes was 10,051 representing 41 per
cent of the total outbreaks.

He said domestic
fires alone claimed 188 lives with 267 injuries and an estimated cost of
59,460,346.00.

DOII Affum said the
home fire safety concept was an initiative of the GNFS in collaboration with
other private sector players under the National Policy on Public Private
Partnership on service delivery.

Divisional Chief
Fire Officer (DCFO) Kwame Kwarteng said domestic fires had increased due to the
changes in the dynamics of society, scientific and technological advancement,
increase in the use of electronic appliances at homes, lack of early warning
devices and fighting equipment at homes.

He said the project
was to sensitise home owners and other individuals on the need to obtain a fire
certificate adding that the home should meet a certain minimum safety
requirement for habitation and put in place fire safety measures.

He said some
measures to be implemented by the service through the project would be
sensitization through mass education campaigns, stakeholders consultation,
capacity building, and strengthening regulations and structures across the
regions.   

DCFO Kwarteng said
the ratio of fire personnel to the population is one to 3,587 as against the
international standard of one to 800, adding that the project would start with
the home safety campaign with the support of National Service Personnel.

He, however, noted
that financial constraints on the part of the service, lack of capacity in
terms of personnel and equipment, as well as appropriate technology were some
of the challenges of the GNFS.

Other challenges of
the service include inadequate public education and awareness creation, fees
collection leakages, lack of database on domestic homes nationwide, inadequate
fire hydrants, and poor accessibility to fire scenes in some communities.

DCFO Kwarteng noted
that fire safety is a shared responsibility and individuals must have fire
warning systems and fighting equipment at homes adding that communities must
provide space for building of fire stations to operate on daily basis.

GNA

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