Fire chief calls for bye laws

Mr Paul Opoku, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Fire Officer, has called on Municipal and District Assemblies to enact comprehensive and culture-friendly anti-bushfire bye-laws that would deter prospective fire starters. He said "the enactment of such bye-laws would provide the necessary complementary support for existing bushfire-related legal provisions to respond positively to peculiar challenges confronting districts in their quest to curb wildfires". Mr Opoku said this at Dormaa-Ahenkro when he visited the Dormaa Municipal Fire Post. He spoke about the significance of collective approach to bushfire prevention and said "bushfires have wreaked havoc in our region for far too long and must therefore be tackled head-on with all available human and material resources to promote safety". Mr Opoku condemned the activities of hunters in the region who employed unacceptable hunting procedures including organised game. He proposed stiffer penalties for such hunters under the assemblies' bye-laws to deter those who might wish to engage in the destruction of the environment. He said 2010 would be eventful for his outfit as arrangements were far advanced to step up public education on the hazards of bush and domestic fires and the need for civil society to handle them with utmost care. "This year, the focus will be an improvement in fire fighting equipment and logistics for the fire stations, capacity enhancement for staff in the region and effective mobilization of fire volunteer squads particularly for fire-prone communities in the region." He commended the Dormaa Municipal Fire Officer for shifting the emphasis to fire prevention strategies rather than waiting for the fires to erupt. The Dormaa Municipal Fire Officer John Atta Ameyaw said 11 bushfires and two domestic fires were recorded in the municipality in 2009. "Having identified electricity as the main cause of domestic fires, we have detailed fire officers to visit markets, churches, homes and officers to educate the people on the possible causes and how to prevent them", Mr. Atta Ameyaw said. He called for a new engine for their fire tender that breaks down regularly.