In all 650 smoke and fire detectors were deployed in line with the ministry’s strategy to protect vital records and projects on its activities that cover economic planning, fiscal policy, national accounting, the national budget and creating an environment for investment and growth.
Socio Computers Limited, a Ghanaian applied computer technology firm designed and installed the equipment which consist of smoke detectors and relay units linked by wireless network to the nearest Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) master control room to enable fire fighters arrest fires before they get out of hand.
To test the system and to ensure that security personnel and staff of the ministry understand how it works a durbar was organised on Friday for officials of the company and GNFS to demonstrate its effectiveness and answer nagging questions from staff members.
The tech savvy system on sensing smoke triggers an alarm and message to the nearest fire service station indicating the precise premise and location where the fire was sighted. It simultaneously sends a similar message and calls to the mobile phones of four occupants of the premise even if they are out of the building.
Addressing the participants the Chief Executive Officer of Socio Computers, Dr. Kenneth M. Afari, said most fires start as sparks and when detected early they could be dealt with easily.
“Unfortunately if the sparks glow into conflagrations they become difficult to deal with and wreak a lot of havoc,” he said.
Dr. Afari said a lot of the fire outbreaks recorded recently in offices such as the former Foreign Affairs building, Former President Rawlings’ house, factories among others across the country mostly occurred at night when the buildings were deserted but they could have been put out if the early fire warning system were installed.
He said the early fire warning systems saved lives and property as the security men present could start fighting fire before fire personnel arrived.
“In the case where the building is deserted fire personnel can get to the exact point where the fire is and put it out,” he added.
He, therefore, urged other ministries and owners of buildings to protect their assets with the technology.
Dr. Afari said in case of power outage the system could operate uninterrupted for three days, noting that the early fire warning system had been installed in over 216 Metropolitan, Municipality and District Assemblies, some mining companies, hotels and cold stores among others.
He said the decision to have the system installed in the ministry of finance demonstrated government proactiveness to protect vital assets.
The Director General Administration of the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Sam Azu Aziakor, said they installed the system to guarantee maximum safety of staff and the protection of their investment.
He advised staff to in line with safety measures quickly leave their offices and converge at the fire assembly point in case the fire alarm sounded.
The demonstration exercise proved successful. When fire was introduced into the ministry’s reception the smoke detector immediately triggered a fire alarm and sent this message “Fire Ministry of Finance (Room 003) to the Ghana National Fire Service Headquarters control room. Simultaneously a similar alert message was sent to the mobile phone of the Assistant Chief Security Officer of the Ministry of Finance, Mr. John Asiedu.
Upon receiving the alert message, Personnel on duty at the GNFS called the Security Officer for confirmation.
Additionally when fire was introduced in Room 053 the smoke detector triggered an alarm and sent the message “Fire Ministry of Finance main block Zone 5 (Room 053) “to the Ghana National Fire Service Headquarters control room.
A similar alert message was sent to the mobile phone of the Assistant Chief Security Officer of the Ministry of Finance, Mr. John Asiedu. Personnel on duty at the GNFS upon receiving the alert message placed another call to the Security Officer’s telephone for confirmation.
By Godfred B. Gibbah.