B/A’s vegetation cover diminishing … Indiscriminate bush fires cited as cause

CFO Emmanuel E. Blankson (middle) giuving his address.

CFO Emmanuel E. Blankson (middle) giuving his address.

Food production in the Brong Ahafo Region is under threat as the region’s vegetation cover continues to diminish due to indiscriminate bush fires.

The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has observed that the danger, which used to persist in the savannah areas of the North, was gradually “progressing to the Brong Ahafo Region”, calling for intensity at promoting fire safety strategies in the region to protect the country’s food hub.

Chief Fire Officer, Edwin Ekow Blankson made the disclosure in Accra yesterday at a news conference to outline strategies by the GNFS to ensure total fire safety for lives and properties across the country.

Painting a picture of a rising trend in fire outbreaks across the country this year, the Chief Fire Officer said, the service had between January and July this year, recorded about 9.7 per cent increase in outbreaks over last year’s figures.

“As of July ending 2016, we had recorded 4,973 fire outbreaks. At the same time in 2017, we had reduced it to 3,432, representing a 44.9 per cent reduction

“However, as at the end of July this year, we had recorded 3,801 fires, portraying a 9.7 per cent increase, which is a cause for worry because we are yet to enter the dry season in which we usually record more fires because of the dry conditions,” he stated.

Mr Blankson said investigations conducted revealed negligence, carelessness and electrical faults as major causes of fire outbreaks across the country.

To compliment ongoing public sensitisations on fire safety, the Chief Fire Officer directed all national, regional and district fire prevention teams to intensify fire safety education at all public places, whiles all Commanders across the region were also asked to submit periodic reports to the Chief Fire Officer as a way of monitoring progress nationwide.

“The National Command has also formed special task forces to check on fire safety status of all petrol and gas filling stations across the country, as well as vital installations and highly patronised public places to assist in fire prevention,” he said.

Mr Blankson pointed out that the amended Fire Precaution Premises Regulation 2003, L1 1724, required households to have in place a fire safety cover, adding that, the GNFS would ensure its enforcement, failure of which “will lead to prosecution, a fine or imprisonment.”

He pledged the GNFS’s determination to pursue all measures possible to deliver on its mandate, but asked that the media and other key stakeholders assisted the Service to reduce fire incidences to the barest minimum.

“I also implore every individual everywhere across the country to step up their observation of fire precaution and safety measures for a total fire safety,” he advised.

By Abigail Annoh and David Takyi                                      

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