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23.06.2009 Regional News

No fire hydrants at strategic locations in Koforidua

By gna
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Koforidua, June 23, GNA - The Eastern Regional Residency, the Eastern Regional Hospital and the Central Market have no fire hydrants to be used should there be a fire outbreak in any of these facilities.

The Regional Fire Officer, Mr Ekow Blankson and his deputy Mr Paul Opoku, said this at a meeting with the Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, on the state and condition of the Fire Service in the region.

In the case of the Residency, no provision was made for a fire hydrant during its construction whiles the market and the hospital had hydrants but had been sealed off by road contractors.

According to the fire officer, the municipality had 36 fire hydrants but some stopped functioning due to old age and the rest had been sealed off by the Department of Urban Roads during road constructions and several reminders to them to reactivate the hydrants had proved futile.

He said until 2000, there were three fire hydrants in the municipality and were located at vantage positions around the central market, the central hospital and the main lorry station but all had been sealed off as a result of re-construction of roads remaining only one at the main lorry station.

Mr Blankson said what was worrying was that during road construction, the Fire Service would alert Urban Roads and the Ghana Water Company of the location of a hydrant marked clearly with the letters 'FH' only to find it sealed on completion of the project.

He said the region has 13 fire tenders but only seven are functioning.

Mr Blankson said their problems were being compounded by the action of the Ghana Railways Company which, a few days ago, served them a letter asking them to vacate the municipal fire offices since the land belongs to them.

He said the Fire Service had occupied that land since 1967 and had grown in size and equipment and it would be difficult for the land to be returned since they were using it for training and simulation exercises as well as housing the national ambulance service at the same time.

Mr Ofosu-Ampofo expressed worry about the absence of a fire hydrant at the Residency and called on the Fire Service to as a matter of urgency furnish his office with all the locations of fire hydrants that had been sealed off.

He said there was a fund set aside by assemblies to help in disaster management, which include fire outbreaks and called on the municipal and district assemblies to help the fire service in acquiring tenders and other logistics to be able to handle emergencies.

Mr Ofosu-Ampofo also directed that an emergency meeting between the Ghana Water Company, the Urban Roads Department and Fire Service be held to find ways of addressing the issues raised.

On the issue of the quit order served them by the Railway Company, he said that matter would be taken up by the Coordinating Council and asked the fire service to go on with their duties.

GNA

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