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Ghanaians must be responsible for their own safety – Chief Fire Officer

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Thu, 13 Jul 2017 Source:

The Chief Fire Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service has noted with grave concern the over dependence on the fire service regarding fire safety.

Albert Brown Gaisie expressed disappointment at the fact that people neglect basic safety measures and thus fail to protect themselves adequately to forestall any fire disaster.

He insisted that if people took upon themselves the responsibility to ensure the highest fire safety measures, there will be very few cases of fire outbreaks.

He stressed “all of us have the responsibility to address these issues which seems to be potential ignition sources for fire outbreak. It is not only the fire service that must address these issues because at the end of the day if we educate you and you don’t accept the education, what happens. At times one finds it wondering that you or an institution would have to plead and beg somebody who owns his own investment to ensure his safety”

He stressed that improper positioning of cylinders in homes, overloaded extension cables, poor wiring, exposed cables and cables placed under carpets were some of the common errors made.

He also pointed out congestion in rooms, lack of emergency exit doors, improperly placed extinguishers, and the use of candles as very dangerous but most neglected fire safety measures.

He cautioned vehicle owners not to compromise the repair of their vehicles when they faulty emphasising that there has been an increase in vehicular fires in recent times.

He suggested that vehicle owners should contact the appropriate mechanics and electrical engineers to properly fix the fault of the vehicle.

He also advised institutions to hire the services of fire safety wardens who will be in-charge of ensuring that all fire safety measures are adhered to at every point in time.

“We have for some time now also recorded a high increase of vehicular fires and what we need to advise is that, owners of vehicles apart from owning a fire extinguisher must also look at the maintenance culture system. Our investigations have proved that most vehicle owners send their vehicles to mechanics that are not qualified to handle these vehicles especially vehicles that are using gas. You have struggled for your investment and you want somebody to beg you to keep them safe? That is amazing” he fumed.

Chief Fire Officer established that after a fire safety audit of more than 1800 institutions between 2015 and 2017, most of the media organisations failed to meet the fire safety requirements.

He disclosed that some of the staff of the about 80 media institutions visited didn’t know what the fire service emergency numbers were and basic evacuation steps.

He stated that the fire service will put in measures to address these challenges and also give the institutions ample time to comply with the fire safety standards.

Failure to do so he insists will incur the wrath of the Fire Service. A.B. Gaisie expressed these known at the quarterly press briefing of the Ghana National Fire Service at the fire service headquarters Most media outlets guilty of non-compliance to fire safety measures - Chief Fire Officer

The Chief Fire Officer, Albert Brown Gaisie, has disclosed that most media houses in the country fail to meet the basic safety requirement per the fire safety standards.

He noted that many of these media institutions are prone to fire outbreaks and workers are at risk of losing their lives as a result. He stated that these were the observations made after the Ghana National Fire Service conducted a fire safety audit in 83 media houses. The fire safety audit he noted, was conducted on MDAs and Media institutions.

“From 30th of June 2015- 30th June 2017 we conducted fire safety audit across the country in 1880 institutions. In recent times we have focused on media and MDAs. We have audited 83 media houses across the country” he asserted.

A.B. Gaisie was disappointed that many of the journalists and staff of media institutions had very little knowledge on basic fire safety.

Even though he declined to list the media houses that had faulted with the safety requirement, he stressed that a lot of them had improperly installed fire extinguishers, cables were painted, extinguishers were put behind curtains, had no smoke detectors and no sprinklers.

He said these intimated that these were not limited to only These he said made the offices, government institutions, studios and personnel very vulnerable to fire outbreak and its associated consequences.

“From what we have observed so far, within the MDAs and Media houses, for instance, some of the extinguishers were not properly installed and classified. In terms of sources of ignition, there were also burnt sockets and coloured sockets. There were also some broken sockets and painted cables. There were no risers, no smoke detectors and no sprinklers. These things were not there even in the studios and these are hazards on its own” he explained.

Immediate action

He revealed that as part of efforts to improve safety knowledge, the Fire Service intends to organise training programmes for the media.

He also said that the Fire service would embark on frequent fire safety educations to homes and institutions.

A.B Gaisie disclosed that effective Monday 17th July 2017, the fire service will begin visiting all MDAs and government institutions to inspect their fire safety measures.

He also explained that a directive has been issued to all regional fire commanders to embark on church-church education on Sundays. He noted that churches take fire safety for granted as they use lots of electrical appliances and candles.

Chief Fire Officer detailed that the institutions that were at fault will be given some time to review and appropriately install the right fire safety measures, however, the Ghana National Fire Service will take stringent actions against those who fail to heed to their caution.

These observations were shared during the Ghana National Fire Service quarterly briefing it organises to keep the public abreast with its activities.

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