Personnel of the Ministries Fire Station in Accra yesterday embarked on a special Fire Safety exercise at the Art Centre and its surrounding areas.
The exercise, which lasted for about three hours, sought to educate and sensitise store owners, market women, drivers, among others on the need to avoid practices that would increase the possibility of fire outbreaks.
The day’s exercise themed “Special Fire Safety for all,” saw Fire Service officials collaborate with officials from the Ghana Police Service (GPS) and the safety team from the Accra East region of the Electricity Company of Ghana.
As part of the exercise, the team toured the market to inspect and advise the people on best safety practices.
During the exercise the personnel observed that although there were a number of infractions on the part of some traders, illegal electricity connections and poor housekeeping practices were most prevalent.
These connections involved the use of inferior cables, undersized cables, overloaded metre terminals, hanging wires and old fuse.
Additionally the team noted that some squatters were using wooden structures as their dwelling place without any proper safety measures which was likely to increase the chances of fire outbreaks.
Divisional Officer Grade Two (DOII) Naomi Ofori-Adubea, District Commander of the Ministries Fire Station, who supervised the exercise, educated the traders and market women on core fire prevention measures.
She said there was the need to create access routes for smooth movement at the market in case of an emergency.
DOII Ofori-Adubea further appealed to the general public to support the Service in the discharge of their duties in order to reduce the spate of fire outbreaks in the country and urged them to desist from pranking them with wrong information.
She said it was unfortunate that market fires appeared to be increasing in the country, in spite of intensive fire education programmes that were organised from time to time by the GNFS, considering the fact that the fires often caused considerable damage to lives and property.
She stressed the need for market authorities to segregate the traders according to the wares they sold and also to ensure that there were adequate access routes in the market.
That, she explained, would help mitigate the rate of fire outbreaks and also create easy access to enable fire personnel to respond to fire outbreaks.
Engineer Frederick Stanley Ansah, of the Accra-East region Safety Team, on his part advised the traders to do away with electrical connections which were below standard and be careful with the use of open flames, saying “you always have to check and ensure that all sources of fire usage such as gas cylinders and electrical cables were in good condition.”