Wherever there are settlements, particularly cities and other urban areas where a lot of people live and work, fire outbreaks can occur and one of the things needed to extinguish the fire is water.
Thus, fire stations across the globe need fire hydrants, sources of water that are quickly accessible and must be found especially in urban communities and at reasonable distances apart.
Since they are made to be stable places for storage and supply of water, these hydrants are easy secondary sources, especially when the amount of water firefighters bring to combat a certain blaze gets exhausted while the fire rages on.
This is why it beats the imagination that the entire Tema New-Town area has no fire hydrants and thus stands the risk of losing considerable property in case of a fire outbreak.
According to the records of the Ghana Statistical Service on the 2022 population census, the population in Tema New Town is 81,480 and that the community is ranked 17th in terms of populations of the top 19 cities in Ghana.
Coming under the Tema Metropolitan area, Tema New Town shares with Tema, the country’s port city, some economic activities such as industry, fishing, trading at markets and in shops, and artisanal activities like auto-mechanical and electrical works, and welding.
All these economic activities are prone to catching fire, not forgetting that for such a place where residents use a lot of electricity for domestic activities, no one can wish away fire-outbreaks from there.
It is sad that on occasions when firefighters have to combat fire in Tema New Town, personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) have to go to Sakumono, Community 8, Industrial Area, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) or the Tema GNFS Regional Office to fill their fire tenders when they run out of water, and even that is dependent on the availability of water in the hydrants at the aforementioned places.
It is truly a dire situation that such a densely-populated community with a vibrant market and businesses, houses, schools, churches, mosques and other structures cannot boast a single fire hydrant.
Hopefully, efforts by the GNFS to fix the problem such as writing letters to the Ghana Water Company Limited and engaging the Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive for their co-operation in the provision of hydrants in the Tema New-Town area would yield the expected outcome.
In the interim, the people of Tema New Town, like all others in the country, must take particular precautions to prevent fire-outbreaks.
Effects of fire-outbreaks are dire because even where lives are not lost, property is destroyed, however small the magnitude of destruction or damage is.
And the effects are likely to be more severe where fire hydrants are absent such as in Tema New Town.
The Ghanaian Times is aware that the public purse is over-burdened but certain things are so essential that the government cannot continue to fail in providing them such as fire hydrants as they are very significant in fire prevention and combat.
In a country where the cases of fire-outbreaks in any year outnumber those of the previous years, the government must do well to resource the GNFS to be ever-ready to combat all fires that would erupt here.
The Ghanaian Times appeals to the GNFS to organize more fire education for the public and also ensure that the law takes its course when investigations into fire incidents prove the culpability of people such as in the case of arson and even overload of sockets.