The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), is to extend its inspection exercise of fire safety equipment of premises to include the installation of fire safety equipment in prison facilities across the country.
The exercise would also be extended to police cells, as well as sensitive institutions and residences of all government officials, among others.
The Chief Fire Officer, Dr. Albert Brown Gaisie, who disclosed this to The Ghanaian Times in Accra on Monday, said the exercise was to ensure that the facilities had first aid appliances like fire extinguishers, and alarm systems among other fire safety equipments.
The task force of the Service has embarked on a nationwide exercise after the June 3 disaster, to ensure that all public premises, including fuel filling stations, have fire safety facilities.
During one of its routine exercises in Accra, a filling station was closed down at Teshie-Nungua while three others at Weija, Sakaman and Dasoman were given two-weeks to put their houses in order or risk closure of their stations for not meeting some standards.
Dr. Gaisie said, the availability of the fire safety facilities would serve as a stop-gap measure in the event of any fire outbreak before the arrival of Fire Service personnel to quench the fire.
He cited the fire outbreak at the Kumasi Central Prisons among other facilities, saying the availability of the equipment, would go a long way to reduce the spate of fire outbreaks in the country.
The exercise, he said, was not to witchhunt but to ensure that all the precautionary measures were in place.
The inspection team, he said, would look at evacuation procedures, the status of electrical installations, emergency exits and fuel loading points and also ensure that the facilities had proper ventilation.
He asked all Regional Fire Service Commanders to organise simulation exercises to identify and familiarise themselves with fire prone areas and put the operational men in readiness to swiftly respond in times of emergency.
The Chief Fire Officer said, his outfit had also started reactivating fire volunteer squads and forming new ones at various districts so that they could respond to emergencies before the arrival of the fire team to the scene.
Plans are also underway to establish Fire Safety Cadet Corps in first and second cycle institutions, while urging the public to be cautious when using fire as “we approach the dry season”.
Dr. Gaisie urged contractors and estate developers to ensure that they involve the Service whenever they were undertaking projects for advice.
He said Legislative Instrument 1724 enjoined the Service to conduct fire safety inspection at premises, while urging the various assemblies to notify the Service of any project permit they had validated for inspection.
“Individuals and contractors should not start projects to the finishing level before inviting the Service for inspection; rather, they must be invited early from the designing stage to the finishing level for advice”, he said.
The Service, Dr. Gaisie said, also planned having a stakeholder meeting with architects, building inspectors and surveyors among others to see how best they could share ideas on safety measures in the building industry.
By Francis Asamoah Tuffour