Members of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) in the regions on Wednesday paid glowing tributes to their colleagues who lost their lives in the line of duty.
It was to mark this year’s (2022) International Fire Fighters Day.
The Day was established in 1999 to honour the lives of five firefighters who died in a wildfire in Victoria, Australia, and to acknowledge the service and sacrifice that firefighters around the globe make daily, especially gallant firefighters in Ghana.
FROM the Upper West Regional capital Wa, LYDIA DARLINGTON FODJOUR, reports that the Deputy Fire Officer of the GNFS in the region, Divisional Officer Grade I (DOI) Eugene Asa-Gyekye, called on Ghanaians especially, the media to appreciate sacrifices being made by personnel across the country.
He explained that service personnel risked their lives to salvage properties and save lives and should be lauded for their efforts.
DOI Asa-Gyekye was speaking on behalf of the Regional Fire Officer,
Mr Abraham Nii Dodoo at an event to mark this year’s International Fire fighters’ Day at Wa on Wednesday.
He said the occasion was to remember personnel who lost their lives in the course of fighting fire such that those in active service would be encouraged to give off their best as well.
“While we celebrate our gallant officers, we also encourage personnel to put in their best, in all endeavours as far as our mandate is concerned to better serve our people”, he said.
He further appealed to the firefighters to exhibit high sense of professionalism in the discharge of their duties.
For her part, an officer with the safety department, Assistant Divisional Officer Grade II, Mary-Elvira Tiere used the opportunity to share key fire safety tips with the public.
She explained that people who used liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) at homes have the responsibility of adhering to certain safety tips which include placing the cylinder outside the kitchen to reduce the probability of fire outbreaks.
“Putting stones and other heavy items on leaking cylinders is very dangerous because it only blocks the noise from the gas leakage but does not block the leakage itself”, she said.
She mentioned that “with LPG, users were expected to first turn on the cylinder, strike the match or ignite the source of fire before turning on the stove, so that the issue of gas escaping into the air before fire is introduced is prevented”.
She stated that in similar fashion, the cylinder should first be turned off after use before the stove was turned off to prevent accidents.
“We advise that you do not make calls when using an automatic teller machine (ATM) and avoid standing close to electricity poles or urinating in running water during rainfall”, she added.
She appealed to her colleague firefighters to lead the campaign for fire safety in their respective homes in order to protect lives and properties from accidental fires.
KEN AFEDZI reports that the Tema Regional Command of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) denied claims by sections of the public that the service had been dispatching fire tenders to accident scenes without water.
Speaking to the Ghanaian Times on the Day, Assistant Chief Fire Officer I (ACFOI) Doris Lamptey, rejected the claim, saying that their equipment were always filled with water and ready for any emergency response.
Explaining further the mandate of the service which included fire safety education and prevention and fire extinguishing among others, ACFO interrogated the logic of a farmer going to the farm without a cutlass and likened it to the claim of the public.
She explained that the nature of some fires required maximum pressure of water to be exerted from the nozzles which hurriedly empties the tenders in no time but not that the Service deploys fire tenders to fire scenes without water.
ACFO I Lamptey urged the public to understand the operations of the GNFS and possibly approach the service for fire safety enquiries and clarifications before making such allegations.
CLEMENT AZEI BOYE, reports from FIJAI in Takoradi that Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO1) Frederick Ohemeng, has called on the media to intensify education of the public on the role of the service in saving lives and properties.
He argued that personnel had made huge sacrifices and need to court the support of the public.
ACFO 1 Ohemeng explained the Day, originally celebrated on January 4, each year, was switched to May 4, to fall in line with Saint Florian, the patriot saint of firefighters of the then Roman Empire, who also lost his life in the line of duty in the 300 AD.
As part of the event, Assistant Divisional Officer (ADO) 11, Rev Andzie Quaicoo and ADO11 Musah Alhassan, led the personnel to pray for the Chief Fire Officer, fire fighters who lost their lives both in Ghana and abroad and Ghana Household Manufacturing Company (GHUMCO) fire fighters who fell victims in a gas explosion in Takoradi.
Again, amidst the sounding of the sirens and a minute silence, ACFO Ohemeng led other officers to lay memorial coins and the cenotaph in remembrance of the gallant fighters.
ACFO 1 Ohemeng urged the media to highlight the immeasurable contributions of the personnel in appreciation for their supports and values.
In the Volta Regional capital, the Volta Regional Command of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) held a float to commemorate the Day.
Personnel of the service from the 18 municipal and districts assemblies in addition to the Ghana Ambulance Service joined the Command during the float, which spanned 15 kilometers to create consciousness concerning the Day and healthy security measures.
Flyers containing information on the correct dealing with of fireplace and electrical devices to keep away from fire outbreaks were distributed to the general public during the float.
Some flyers read: “Don’t store fuel in your home”, “Don’t overload your electrical gadgets” and “Switch off all your electrical gadgets before leaving your premises”, “Warn children to keep off electrical gadgets” and “Old electrical gadgets must be replaced.”
Mr Joy Ayim Ameyibor, Volta Regional GNFS Commander, disclosed that the Command had lined up a week-long actions to mark the Day.
These actions included video games, medical screening and sensitisation in church buildings and markets, donation to cured lepers’ villages and a brief wreath laying ceremony on May 4, the date for the occasion.
Mr Ameyibor, an Assistant Chief Fire Officer One (ACFO 1), mentioned that the celebration was key in recognition of their contributions in defending communities.