Larbie/Eunice Hilda Ampomah, GNA
Accra, Jan. 11, GNA - The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) on Friday called on Ghanaians to cooperate with the Service to achieve its goal of reducing the number of fire outbreaks in the country to the barest minimum.
Mr Edwin E. Blankson, the Chief Fire Officer (CFO), who made the call at GNFS end-of-year party and appreciation event, said in spite of their fire prevention efforts, and operations in 2018, there was 17 per cent increment in the total number of fire outbreaks across the country, compared to 2017.
He said, on the operational front, the Service responded to 5,531 fire outbreaks, 595 road traffic collision, and 164 other incidents, which required rescue operations, as at December 31, 2018.
Mr Blankson said the development was worrying and called for more stringent fire prevention and safety measures in 2019 to address the issue.
He disclosed that notwithstanding the spate of fire outbreaks in 2018, the expeditious and efficient response by their fire-fighters to various incidents encountered in the course of the year saved many lives and property worth several Millions of Cedis.
“It is also important to reflect on tragic incidents such as; the Dansoman Fire in which four members of a family perished, and re-echo the need for good fire safety practices in all types of occupancies in the country,” he said.
Mr Blankson said the year saw 20 young officers sent to Europe for training in industrial fire-fighting, and rescue operations as well as the construction of a smoke chamber at the Fire Academy and Training School.
He revealed that as part of plans for the 2019, there would be a construction of a Burns Hospital at Tema to ensure the wellbeing of all person in the Service, adding that, the project’s seed money would be sourced from the Fire Officers’ Development Fund.
The fund, he explained was a contribution from both serving and retired officers, including; former Acting Chief Fire Officer, Brigadier General Guyiri and Deputy Chief Fire Officer David Aleonu.
He said construction of 72 metre hydraulic platforms, the first of its kind in the history of the Service was underway.
The Service would send 20 women and 20 men to Malta in February to attend a course, CFO Blankson said, explaining that they were selected based on physical fitness, qualification, and ability to impart.
He said, “Training facilities and equipment will be upgraded in due course to enhance operational efficiency and welfare of personnel is also expected to see a dramatic boost this year as we push for the passage of the new GNFS Administration Regulations into a Legislative Instrument”.
He urged officers to brace themselves up to take up various appointments in the new Regions that had been created.
Mr Ambrose Dery, the Minister of Interior, commended management of the GNFS for their hard work and dedication to duty.
He said in ensuring the President’s commitment to resourcing the GNFS, government had facilitated the procurement of two Hydraulic platforms promised the service, to be delivered in due course.
“The Ministry will continue to support management’s initiatives to transform the Administrative Regulations of the service into a Legislative Instrument that can be enforced by law to improve your service conditions,” he stated.
Mr Dery congratulated management for crafting a five year strategic plan to enable the service put up its maximum best in the coming years saying that, the ministry will support and guide the plan’s implementation.
He said the Ministry was in total support of the establishment of the proposed Burns Hospital for the service and would ensure that the dream materialised and again commended the GNFS for their success in combating all incidents that confronted them in the past year.
He encouraged the personnel to look back at some challenges of the past year and offer practical solutions to enable them overcome such problems should they confront them in the future.
The Minister also commissioned two Hyundai 36 seater buses for the GNFS to enhance their operational activities.