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28.10.2008 Social News

Personnel of Fire Service must enjoy NHIS

By gna

The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has appealed to the government to hook personnel to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to enable them access free medical care.

The Service also called for the introduction of life insurance policy for personnel as compensation to them for saving lives and fighting fire in the country.

While there is no health facility charged with the responsibility of medically examining personnel after the performance of their duties, some public health institutions sometimes deny them treatment without deposits when they get involved in accident on their way to responding to emergency calls.

Assistant Divisional Officer (ADO) Prince Billy Anaglate, Tema Regional Fire Public Relations Officer who made the call on behalf of the Service said firemen work under dangerous conditions.

Mr Anaglate in an interview told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Tema on Tuesday that even though the personnel protect the lives of people from various life threatening incidents, no government has considered their plight since the establishment of the GNFS in 1963.

He noted that personnel go through lots of stress, trauma and other health related problems during the discharge of their responsibilities, noting that, “someone has to save the lives of the lifesavers.”

The Fire PR observed that they are exposed to many health hazards, which was due to lack of proper equipments and protective gadgets, lamenting that, no attention was being given to the protection of lungs and respiratory systems of personnel, even though they are vulnerable to injury.

Mr Anaglate said the Service has no breathing apparatus which protects them from excessive temperatures as well as dangerous gases such as hydrogen chloride, nitrogen oxide and phosgene gas produced by combustible materials.

He observed that instead of breathing equipments, personnel covered their noses with handkerchiefs while using Wellington boots instead of Steel toe fire fighting boots.

He said most deaths that occur among fire personnel were caused as a result of lack of protection against these gases, adding that, the young personnel were most at risk since they formed the operational team.

Mr Anaglate therefore pleaded with the government and stakeholders to provide the necessary equipments to help save the lives of the firemen in the country.