The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) in collaboration with stakeholders in the educational sector will begin fire simulation exercises in schools to educate students on fire safety.Mr Ellis Robinson Okoe, Head of Public Relations, GNFS, said the personnel of the Service in the regions had visited schools to educate the students on fire safety after the outbreak of fires in schools.
Mr Okoe disclosed this in Accra at a fire simulation exercise at the premises of the Ghana Education Service (GES) Headquarters to test the preparedness of the staff in the event of a fire outbreak.
Mr Okoe expressed concern about the spate of fire outbreaks in schools, and called on educational institutions to train students to serve as anti-fire groups on campus to ensure that anything which was likely to trigger a fire outbreak was turned off.
As at September this year, four senior high schools witnessed fire outbreaks across the country.
They are: Accra Academy in the Greater Accra Region which experienced two fire outbreaks, Buipe SHS and St Charles Boys SHS, both in the Northern Region, and Oppong Memorial SHS in the Ashanti Region.
He said most of these schools were built years ago and the electrical layouts were old and needed replacing to avert fire outbreaks.
On the simulation exercise at the GES, Mr Okoe said unknown to the staff, a siren was triggered to signal an outbreak of fire.
He said the exercise prompted the staff who occupied offices on the third and last floors of the GES building to rush out, in an orderly manner to join their colleagues at the assembly point through the designated emergency fire exits.
In a matter of five minutes, the entire staff of the company had gathered at the assembly point, asking each other what triggered the alarm.
Mr Michael A. Korsah, Assistant Director in charge of Safety, GNFS, who called the staff to order, described the exercise as “successful,” adding that the staff responded appropriately even though some delayed and wanted to go for their bags and phones.
He explained that there was no point for any staff to stay in the building anytime the alarm was triggered, saying “you could have been trapped in the process and cause harm to yourself.”
Mr Anthony Boateng, Deputy Director General in charge of Managerial Service, GES, expressed appreciation to the staff for making the right responses in the unexpected exercise.
He said the exercise formed part of GES strategy to reduce casualties during fire outbreaks, adding that the Service had collaborated with the Ghana National Fire Service to train some of its staff as local fire wardens to respond to fire outbreaks.
This, he explained, was critical because fire outbreaks destroy life and property hence the prudent need to its response.
He commended the GNFS officers for their timely response to the exercise.