The Regional Fire Officer at the Upper East Regional Office of the Ghana National Fire Service, George Asante Wiafe has bemoaned the difficulty in accessing the various markets across the country accounting for the huge loss of properties and livelihood in event of a fire outbreak.
Speaking to Apexnewsgh.com, he expressed concern over the number of market fire incidence in the last few months, assuring that Fire Service is battle-ready to fight any fire incidence and advised the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to consult the service for their input when putting up the market. On February 14 this year, a fire ravaged the Dagomba line Kumasi displacing 200 head potters; around July 22, Juaben Serwaa Koforidua market fire burnt shops in the Eastern Region; on August 6 fire gutted another market in Tarkwa in the Western Region; on September 10, the Dome Market in Accra caught fire destroying a number of shops; on November 18, the Odorna Market fire destroyed over 500 shops affecting over 3000 traders, few days later around November 15 three shops in Koforidua caught fire; then on December 16, Kantamanto fire outbreak destroyed over one thousand shops in Accra and days later on December 20, the Kaneshie Market also caught fire destroying nine shops; more than 50 persons were displaced after a fire swept through wooden structure at a slum in the Asokore Mampong Municipality in the Ashanti Region. Apart from the Market fires, public institutions including the fire accident at GCB on November 28 as well as the Ghana Revenue Authority office at Circle.
Many have raised a question about how this fire happens at dawn weekend or when nobody is around with other raising suspicion of arson. However, Mr Asante Wiafe noted that illegal connection, use of inferior quality electrical gadgets, and exposed electrical wire can contribute to the fire incidence. Statistics from the Upper East Regional Office of the Ghana National fire service has revealed that the region has recorded as six bush fires incidence from October this to date as against eight cases recorded in December last year representing a 25% decline. Meanwhile, the total number of fire emergencies recorded from January to November this year is three hundred and thirty-seven, 337 including 135 domestic fire emergencies; 28 bush fires, 43 commercial fires, 36 vehicular fires, 21 electrical fires six crown fires ( a forest fire that spreads from treetops to treetops); 9 institutional fires; 2 road traffic collision; 55 rescue and two false alarms.
For the Municipal and Districts breakdown, the Bolgatanga Municipal recorded a total of 83 fire emergencies with 32 domestic fires, 22 commercial fires; 14 vehicular fires; 5 electrical fires; one accident fire; two crown fires; one institutional fire, and six rescues. The Bawku Municipal recorded 33 fires comprising 19 domestic fires; two commercial fires; two vehicular fires; two institutional fires six rescues and two false alarms while the Kassena Nankana Municipal recorded 35 fire emergencies including 22 domestic fires; one bush fire; two commercial fires; six vehicular fires, one electrical fire; two crown fires; one institution. Bawku West had 18; Bongo 7; Builsa North 14; Talensi 14; Tempane 13; Paga 64 with 41 of them being rescues; Builsa South 7; Chiana District office 12; BOST one; Bolgatanga East 21; Pusiga District 11; and Nabdam four. Speaking in an interview the Upper East Regional fire officer, George Asante Wiafe, cautioned herdsmen, farmers, and smokers to desist from acts that can spark bush fire during this harmattan.
George Asante Wiafe, cautioned the public against engaging the services of uncertified electricians to fire their homes, adding that they can always contact the Electricity Company of Ghana and VRA to provide them with certified electricians to do their bid for safety. He also charged the public to always use quality electrical materials noting that the counterfeit ones may appear cheap, but will end up causing harm since they are death traps.
Mr. Wiafe added that some of the counterfeit products are such that even when they are switched off they still function. The region fire officer also advised the general public to desist from loading a lot of gadgets on our extension cords since that exerts a lot of pressure on them, stressing that a gadget like a fridge or a freezer should be solely connected to an extension cord without including additional gadgets. The fire officer added that a heater should be directly connected to a switch and not a cord.
Mr. Wiafe also advised the general public to always have their cylinders checked by the attendants anytime they go to the gas plants to fill their cylinders, adding that the practice of placing blocks on their cylinders as a way of blocking leakages should cease. Mr. Wiafe also admonished the public against switching on cookers before lighting up matches, explaining that this was a dangerous practice as the leaked gas would form layers in the air and consequently explode when the match is lighted.
He also cautioned the public to always separate the cooker from the cylinder with a long tube, stressing that the cylinder should be outside as it is always supposed to be placed at places where there is ventilation.
Apexnewsgh.com/Ghana/Contributors: Prosper Adankai & Sarah Dubure
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