GNFS urges public to desist from interfering in firefighting

The Western Regional Command of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), has expressed worry about public interference during fire operations, warning that such occurrences were a danger to public safety and security.

The Command, therefore, cautioned the public to stay away from such scenes and also desist from the practice of siphoning and scooping fuel from tankers or bulk road vehicles involved in road accidents.

“The Service in collaboration with the Ghana Police will team up to strictly enforce adherence to the recommended safety distances for incident scenes, and offenders shall be arrested and prosecuted,”the Western Regional Fire Commander, Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO) Gaddiel Ebonyi gave the warning  at a press briefing last Thursday.

He noted that, during their response to fire incidents, the Command was faced with the challenge of a teeming crowd who either tried to catch glimpses of the incidents or attempted to help extinguish the fire.

He said: “While we appreciate their efforts to assist and acknowledge the importance of such interventions, we wish to advise the public to stay away so as not to endanger their lives and health.”

The Regional Commander recommended the minimum safety distance of   100 metres for fires at domestic and light commercial premises where the fire might be classified as medium.

For fires at heavy commercial and industrial premises or involving highly inflammable fuels, ACFO Ebonyi explained that “the recommended minimum safety distance is five hundred meters”.

He mentioned that Fire Service responded to road traffic collision incidents, other hazardous goods incidents such as during leakage of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and fuel tankers/bulk road vehicle (BRV) spillage of fuel as a result of road accidents.

However, in responding to such incidents, the Command was faced with people who go on scene to scoop some of the spilled fuel. 

“This particular practice must be condemned outright. Liquid fuels/petroleum products by their nature are highly inflammable and quickly form explosive vapours which can easily ignite from the least amount of heat energy, such as that which can be generated when the item being used to scoop the fuel scrapes the road surface or any hard surface, and even lead to explosions,” he noted.

ACFO Ebonyire recalled that in a recent incident which occurred near the Takoradi Container Terminal (TACOTEL) involving collision between a fuel tanker and a locomotive, “there was a rather disheartening rush for the spilled fuel by the public, including women who had babies strapped to their backs who trooped to the scene to scoop some of the fuel”.

This was without any regard for the recommended physical distancing as required by the COVID-19 containment measures, he added.

He assured that the Service would continue to perform its duties with the utmost efficiency and effectivenessto reduce fire incidents to the barest minimum but argued that, this could be achieved with the cooperation and support of the public, who adhered to fire safety precautions and prevention education.

From January 2020 to date, a total of 189 fire incidents had been recorded and out of this, five persons lost their lives and three persons sustained various degrees of injuries.

The region has also recorded a total of six (6) road traffic collision (RTC) incidents, with one (1) person sustaining injuries.


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