The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has appealed to the public to adhere strictly to basic fire safety measures to help reduce the occurrence of fire outbreaks in the wake of the intensification of the dry season, otherwise known as the harmattan.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, the Deputy Public Relations Officer of the GNFS, Mr Prince Billy Anaglate, said in the last few days, the harmattan was gradually becoming severe, a situation which had made the weather become fertile ground for fire outbreaks.
He said often majority of the fire outbreaks reported annually nationwide occurred during the dry season, which normally started from late December and continued, sometimes, to early February the following year.
Mr Anaglate, therefore, underscored the need for members of the public to be extra cautious during the dry season. Prior to the Christmas festivities and with the onset of the harmattan, he said, the GNFS intensified its fire safety education and management interventions to reduce the prevalence of fire outbreaks during the dry season.
“Between December 24 and December 26, 2016, as many as 48 fire outbreaks have been recorded nationwide, while around the same time in 2015, 72 fire outbreaks were recorded nationwide,” he said. Mr Anaglate said although the figure was disturbing, the service had been encouraged by the fact that fire safety measures instituted were yielding results, but was quick to admit that the figures were still not acceptable.
He said the GNFS would not rest on its oars until fire outbreaks were reduced to the minimum, if not stopped entirely. Some preparations of the GNFS Mr Anaglate said the service had trained many firefighters and fire volunteers across the country in its effort to increase fire safety nationwide. “What we have done so far is to train a lot of volunteers in those communities that we do not have fire stations and we train them also to serve as educators in the communities.
“We have also trained them to ensure that they monitor the activities of palm wine tappers and farmers because we know at this period many people try to use fires to clear their lands, which has contributed to many fire outbreaks.” he said. Mr Anaglate said the trained officers would patrol selected areas, including markets, to intensify fire safety education and prevent the indiscriminate setting up of fires.
He said the GNFS was well equipped and was ready to manage effectively unforseen circumstances of fire outbreaks but cautioned all stakeholders to put all hands on deck in the fight against fire outbreaks and explosions. Advice to the public Mr Anaglate appealed to members of the public to take stock of all their electrical appliances and replace old ones because the older an appliance or socket, the more susceptible those appliances were to fire.
He said Christmas lighting decorations should not be left on for too long, explaining that electrical gadgets could easily catch fire because of the dry weather conditions. “We should ensure that all gas cylinders in enclosed areas such as rooms and kitchens are relocated to open spaces,” he said.
He said those who had also placed stones or heavy items on their gas cylinders should take them off as they could increase the pressure on the cylinder, leading to an explosion. Mr Anaglate advised the public to be extra careful with the way they handled naked fires.
“When leaving the home, people should ensure that all electrical equipment, except fridges, are switched off and unplugged, close all doors and windows tight, avoid the use of charcoal for cooking and for heating in the market, do not accumulate sawdust in the timber market as this is a potential source of fire outbreak, improper electrical connection must be avoided and proper use of candles must be adhered to by placing the candle in a ceramic bowl or an enamel bowl,” he said.
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