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11.01.2005 Regional News

Work places in V/R to not meet fire-fighting requirements

By GNA

Ho, Jan 11, GNA - The inability of work places to meet the mandatory requirement of providing fire-extinguishers in their premises is a major set back to the fire fighting strategies of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) in the Volta Region.

Mr Joy Agbleze, Divisional Officer in charge of Public Relations at the Regional Command of the GNFS, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Ho on Tuesday.

He said the trend in the region was for organisations to go "through the processes of inspection of premises, planning pre-emptive and fire fighting tactics and thereafter put the reports aside without any action".

"We write to them, follow up to give technical advise on the type of extinguishers to purchase, their installation and discuss mode of training of their workers on how to handle them, but it stops at that, we don't hear from them again," Mr Agbleze said.

Mr Agbleze said about 90 per cent of all public places in the region either did not have fire extinguishers or have defective ones. He said pre-emptive measures had been taken against the occurrence of bush fires this year through massive education campaigns through the local FM stations.

Mr Agbleze said "risk groups" including palm wine tapers, hunters, charcoal burners, honey hunters among others had been targeted for direct contacts through chiefs and heads of communities.

''Though the Regional Fire Service had trained 13,432 fire fighting volunteers across the region many were inactive because of low support from the district assemblies.''

He said the arrangement was for the Rural Fire Department of the GNFS to train these volunteers upon request from communities and not to provide them with logistics.

Mr Agbleze said the volunteers lack boots, cutlasses, flashlights and other protective gears to respond to fire emergencies in their areas.

He said volunteers with strong community support in terms of logistics were doing well and were in constant preparation to fight fire outbreaks.

Mr Agbleze said punishments prescribed by law for fire offences were not punitive and deterrent, hence the persistence of such offences.

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