The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has cautioned that it will from June this year start prosecuting landlords who fail to put fire safety measures in their homes.
According to the Public Relations Officer of the Service, Divisional Officer (DOI) Prince Billy Anaglate, the GNFS decision followed the amendment of the Fire Precaution Premises Regulation LI 1724 (2003) which deals with fire safety at public places, including homes.
He stated that under the amended regulation now LI 2249 (2016), owners of domestic or residential facilities were required to provide fire safety cover plans, failure of which would lead to prosecution and sanction.
Speaking at a press conference to launch the Greater Accra Fire Safety Week on Monday, he said the service had since the amendment been pursuing intensive public education and was hopeful the public would comply with the new regulation.
DOI Anaglate said in addition to the public education, personnel would be deployed to conduct fire safety audit at various homes to assess, among others, the availability of exits in case of fire and make recommendations.
He noted that it was not the immediate interest of the service to prosecute, but to educate and therefore called for cooperation from the public as it was the obligation of everyone to prevent fire outbreak, especially at residential places.
In an interview at the sidelines of the launch, he said domestic fires had topped the cases of fire outbreaks and mentioned overaged cables, overuse of electrical gadgets and wrong installations of cables as some of the causes of domestic fires.
The Greater Accra Regional Commander, Deputy Chief Fire Officer (DCFO) Ebenezer Simpson said that 303 fire outbreaks were recorded between January and March this year, a reduction as compared to 428 recorded in the same period last year.
He attributed the reduction of cases to fire education at schools, markets and other public places and said the command would not relent in its effort to reduce cases in subsequent months.
The Commander indicated that as part of such efforts, the command had launched an operation dubbed “Visibility,” a fire outreach programme targeted at fisher folks as they were often neglected in fire safety education.
DCFO Simpson said the fire service would continue to design and disseminate effective fire prevention and safety information in the country and urged other stakeholders to play their roles effectively.
As part of the safety week, every fire station in the region would embark on series of safety related activities at public places.
By Jonathan Donkor