The Ghana National Fire Service says its men remain focused and ever-ready to fight fire in the country any time they are called upon to do so, regardless of time and place.
According to the Service, personnel who have all sworn an oath to protect the lives and properties of every individual in the country from fire, remain resolute to their core mandate and will carry it out with hesitation, fear or favour.
Traders in the central business district of Accra and others in the Ashanti Region have condemned personnel of the fire service for arriving late to some fire scenes recently.
Similarly, residents of Begoro in the Fanteakwa North District of the Eastern Region also criticized the fire service for arriving at a fire scene in a hired taxi cab with handheld fire extinguishers.
Answering questions on recent public backlash on these developments on the sidelines of a 3-day training workshop for personnel in the Eastern Region on modern firefighting techniques, Assistant Chief Officer 1, Mark Brako Appiah, Head of Budget for Ghana National Fire Service said personnel are focused on delivering their mandate.
“We understand that it is the hazards associated with the job that we do; you should understand that at a point in time when somebody’s house is burning, the properties are burning, the agitation is so high and that when you go to the fire ground, and you want to adopt the strategy that is needed by studying the wind direction and all that, they don’t have the patience for you to go through that strategy in quenching the fire. And by the time you will realize, you are going to be attacked here and there”.
“The morale is never down, the morale is up. That is why the Head of Human Resource indicated that at a point in time, people do not understand when there’s fire and people are running away, we are rather going into the fire, and we are going to ensure that we actually quench the fire, save properties and save lives. It is human nature that if my things are getting burnt, and you come and ask me questions, I will not be ready to answer you.”
“It matches the same way when there’s fire and people think that their things are burning, and you are now going to strategize before you fight the fire, he doesn’t understand that and so, the best thing he thinks is to attack you or maybe hoot at you at the end of the fire, but at the end of the day, fire management and our efficiency and effectiveness are being accessed by the public, and at a point, in time God knows that we are not leaving any stone unturned to make sure that the public is safe and that when there is even fire, we will fight it to the best of our abilities. ”
Mr. Brako Appiah, who admitted that the service is logistically challenged, called for attitudinal change to reduce the fire outbreaks.
“The service is challenged with some equipment, and successive governments have done their part in helping to retool the service, and currently, items are being made to procure fire tenders. We have gone through the procurement processes, and we have identified the required manufacturer tools, of course, to get us the needed equipment”.
“Fire management as I said is a shared responsibility, if we are all playing our parts by ensuring adherence to safety measures and all that, logistics may not even be needed because, you are sure that at a point in time, all fires are going to be reduced. But if we say that we are not going to adhere to safety measures and all that, we will create challenges for ourselves, especially when we are limited, we are constrained in our logistics”.