Mr Ambrose Dery, Minister for the Interior, has called for public education on the operations of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to help them understand the operations better.
He said the public must be enlightened to be patient with Fire Service Officers rather than attacking personnel because of alleged delayed response to a fire, accident or purported wrong technique in fighting the fire or rescuing victims.
Mr Dery made this observation at the graduation ceremony of Cadet Intake XV as Officers of the GNFS on Friday in Accra.
He noted that government was very concerned about physical attacks on fire fighters in the discharge of their duties.
The most recent ones being the attack and injury of three (3) fire fighters at Dawhenya, Afianya Junction and an attack on the fire engine and personnel at Asamankese.
“The security services are in partnership with the general public in their quest to deliver quality service to the citizenry, and therefore we must be patient with them.
He also mentioned that management of fires must see a change in view of technological sophistication and global warming, as inhalation of fumes was a serious occupational hazard to Fire Service Officers.
He said many firefighters have suffered a lot of strange diseases later in life after continuous inhalation of poisonous fumes from fires, and as such government was committed to providing personal protective clothing for all firefighters to ameliorate the situation.
The sector Minister said capacity building continued to be a key aspect of improving the service delivery of the GNFS to the good people of Ghana, and as such a Memorandum of Understanding had been signed with the University of Cape Coast, specifically the Forensic Science department to train officers in Forensic Fire Investigations.
“All the 320 officer cadets graduating today have been taken through the programme and are all successful, as a result, they will be awarded certificates by the University. And 250 officers selected from all the 17 Administrative Regions of the Service would also be trained in Basic Forensic Fire Investigations in a bid to build the capacity of our officers in fire investigations.”
He further indicated that 20 young officers, 10 males and 10 females had successfully completed their training at the International Safety Training Centre (ISTC) in Malta, three Assistant Divisional Officers have completed a one-year Masters Programme in Fire Safety Engineering programme at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), United Kingdom.
Mr Dery said the Service would also take delivery of command vehicles for Directors in a few days to boost their morale, adding that the package would trickle down to Regional Fire Commanders and eventually Metropolitan, Municipal and District Fire Commanders.
He congratulated the graduands on their smart turn out and how far you had come through the rigorous training to be called Fire Officers, and advised that as they walked out of the Training School today, they must keep in mind the core values taught by the Institution and let them be their guiding principles for their career.
“As security officers, I entreat you to exhibit a high sense of maturity and discipline acquired from your training even in your residential areas to serve as good role models for civilians in your communities.”
He also commended personnel of the service for the high sense of professionalism exhibited over the years in the area of firefighting, road traffic extrication and good fire safety education rolled out countrywide, which has led to the current reduction in the spate of fires in the country.
“Fire safety is a way of life, hence the necessity to embrace good fire safety practices in our homes, offices, markets and wherever we find ourselves. Needless to say, that fire safety would protect lives and property.”
Four out of the 320 graduands comprising of 107 women and 213 men were honoured for excelling in specific areas throughout the training.