In the wake of the ongoing load shedding exercise, fire officers in the Ashanti region have begun a campaign in the Kumasi metropolis to alert and educate residents on the need to take precautionary measures to prevent fire outbreaks.
Kumasi has in less than a week reported two separate incidents connected to the ongoing power fluctuations. A four year old boy lost his life from electrocution at Bantama while holding on to a metal railing close to an electricity pole when the lights suddenly came on after two days of blackout.
Parts of the Presidential Square Hotel at Bomso in Kumasi, was also gutted by fire, another incident the managers blamed on the intermittent power cuts.
Ashanti Regional Fire Safety Officer, D.O.3 David Afful in an interview with Kumasi based Ultimate Radio said there was the need for the public to immediately switch off all electrical gadgets when power goes off. He explained that the surge in voltages when power is restored has the tendency to spark fire.
“We will advise that if gadgets are not in use, they should be turned off. for your fridges, if you don’t have any fridge guard, it must be unplugged immediately power goes off because when the power comes on, it comes with a higher voltage for which if the resistance is not good or the fridge is faulty, it can run through and catch fire” he stressed.
D.O.3 David Afful gave similar instructions with regard to other household gadgets like radio sets, televisions and fans. He explained that such gadgets lacked enough resistance to stand any excess energy that may come through in the process of restoration of power and warned that such gadgets could spark fire under severe conditions.
Another critical area of concern the fire service drew attention to was to do with the use of heaters. According to the service, several people using their irons and water heaters tend to forget to switch them off when the lights go out. D.O.3 David Afful noted with concern that the practice was rife among workers who go home late after work.
He instructed that, “if you are tired, you should not switch on heaters or irons in your rooms or halls because you might either forget to turn it off when the schedule puts you off or you may fall asleep and the heat generated can just spark a fire.”
He however gave assurances that the Fire Service in the Ashanti Region is fully equipped and ready to combat any fire in the event of a fire outbreak.