The Acting Chief Fire Officer, at the weekend urged personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to make judicious use of resources available to them to sustain the effective and efficient management and prevention of fires. Mr Albert Brown Gaisie, who was speaking at a staff durbar for personnel of the GNFS in Sunyani appealed to them to sacrifice to maintain the good image of the service. He advised the personnel to eschew indiscipline, laxity, laziness and other negative attitudes that undermined the tenets of the service. Outlining his vision for the GNFS, Mr Brown Gaisie stated that his administration would be premised on three thematic areas, namely motivation and welfare, capacity building of staff and effective management of equipment. He urged the officers to endeavour to engage the media to sensitise and alert the public on fire prevention and safety measures during the harmattan season. The Acting Chief Fire Officer promised to introduce performance indicators to assess the performance of district and municipal commanders to ensure that incompetent officers were replaced. He warned that personnel with fictitious and false fire certificates, as well as those who impersonate signatures would be made to face the full rigours of the law when caught. Divisional Officer Grade One (DO1) Paul Opoku, Brong Ahafo Regional Fire Commander, said there were 18 fire stations in the region, including the newly constructed fire post at Yefri. He said plans were underway to open stations at Kukuom, Kenyase, Bechem, Wamfie, Kwame Danso, Odumase, Busunya, Nkrankwanta, Chiraa, Abesim, Nsoatre and Bomaa. He noted that the creation of the new stations would require additional 500 personnel of different skills including 60 drivers, indicating that the current personnel strength of 488, comprising 362 males and 126 females, 48 senior officers and 440 junior officers, was very low. DO1 Opoku said work on the new regional headquarters, which was started in 1999, was still on hold and appealed to the acting chief fire officer to ensure that enough funds were allocated for the early completion of the project. “The regional headquarters has been moved five times since its inception in the region in 1966. Even our present office accommodation belongs to Public Works Department. We are sharing our present location with Ministry of Health ware house,” he added. He appealed to the government to consider building fire stations in all districts where the STX housing projects would be sited. DO 1 Opoku urged the acting chief fire officer to consider renting quarters for personnel as a short–term measure and the construction of barracks as a long term solution to the accommodation problem to ensure quick and efficient mobilisation of personnel. The regional fire commander called for the provision of adequate logistics and equipment such as boots, computers and other office equipment for the region to enhance performance. “The region had 12 fire engines before… 2000 but seven of them are now unserviceable. We are currently left with five over-aged fire engines. Brong Ahafo has a total land area of 39, 557square kilometres and this implies that each of the fire engines cover an area of 7, 911.4 square kilometres, thus overstretching the use of the fire engines, which break down often,” he said. Giving statistics on fire outbreaks in the region, DO 1 Opoku said the region recorded 271 cases from January to December 2009 and 255 in 2010, a decrease by 16 cases. He stated that 43 injuries, 13 deaths and 36 road traffic accident cases were also recorded between January and October 2009, whilst 66 injuries, 20 deaths and 33 cases were recorded between January and December in 2010. The Acting Chief Fire Office and his team inaugurated a new fire station at Yefri in Nkoranza North District built at an estimated cost of GH¢ 42,000. Nana Kwadwo Adjei Dwomoh, District Chief Executive, expressed appreciation to the chiefs and people for supporting the construction of the fire post and appealed to the them to provide accommodation for personnel to be posted to the area. He noted that the siting of the fire post was strategic due to the geographical position of Yefri, a farming community. Mr Brown Gaisie stressed that protecting the environment was a collective responsibility and not only a selected group of people. He urged the district administration and the chiefs to enforce bye-laws to prosecute offenders to serve as a deterrent to people who carelessly and negligently abuse the environment through unsafe practices. Nana Osei Bonsu Kofrobour, Chief of Yefri, thanked the Ghana Private Road Transport Union at Yefri and others for their contributions towards the construction of the fire post. The acting chief fire officer on behalf of the government presented safety boots, fire extinguishers, blankets, helmets and other fire fighting apparel to the chief of Yefri and the district chief executive to be given to personnel of the service at Yefri and fire volunteers.
Source: Ghana News Agency