A total of 2,707 cases of fire out-breaks nationwide were recorded from January to May this year, with loss of property estimated at GH¢10, 244,493.
Dr. Albert Brown Gaisie, Chief Fire Officer, Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) who made this known at Cape Coast at the opening of a two-day Directors and Regional Fire Officers Conference, said the fires also claimed 14 lives.
He said the service only managed to conduct fire safety audit into 69 cases out of the total figure including the recent fire and flood incident at the Goil Filling Station in Accra due to limited resources at its disposal.
The conference was dubbed: “Heightening the role of the Ghana National Fire Service in national development”.
Dr. Gaisie noted that a major proportion of the citizenry lacked the needed know-how as far as total fire safety was concerned and reiterated the commitment of the GNFS to intensify the fire safety education campaign to create awareness throughout the country.
He advocated a paradigm shift from reactive to more preventive measures as far as fighting fire was concerned.
The Chief Fire Officer said the service had so far organised capacity-building programmes for 550 Fire Service personnel and urged them to constantly upgrade themselves to be abreast with modern ways of dealing with fires.
Mr. James Agalga, Deputy Minister of the Interior, said government had provided more than 250 fire tenders, 13 recovery trucks and four mobile services trucks for the GNFS to improve upon its efficiency.
He said the task of ensuring public safety must not be the sole responsibility of the GNFS and called for a public-private partnership to ensure absolute public safety in the country.
Mr. Agalga said the government was delighted with the decision by the Fire Service to institute legal action against defaulters of the Legislative Instrument (LI 1724) and promised that the Executive would provide all the needed logistics to the Service for it to be able to work effectively.
Mr. Kenneth Dzirasah, Chairman of GNFS Council, noted that though there had been a considerable improvement in all aspects of the service, more was needed to be done for the organisation to gain the status it deserved to match the other security services.— GNA