The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) office in the Upper West Region says property estimated at GH₵939,611was lost to fire outbreaks in the region from January to October, 2020.
This figure shows about 295 per cent increase over last year’s loss of GH₵318,737 during the same period.
The GNFS further said fire incidents in the first 10 months of 2019 increased from 119 to 153 for the same period this year.
Although the cost of properties salvaged last year increased from GH₵1,105,500 to GH₵1,115,700 this year, the regional command said uncontrolled fires had caused more havoc this year.
This data was contained in a speech by the Acting Regional Commander of the GNFS, Divisional Officer Grade 1, DO1, Abraham Nii Dodoo, during the inauguration of a new fire station at Gwollu in the Sissala West District.
The Acting Commander lamented the upsurge in the fire incidents and indicated that a fire claimed one life this year.
He said that the GNFS had diligently carried out its task of managing fires by undertaking rescue operations and related matters but noted sadly that in spite of frantic efforts being made by the Service to combat fire outbreaks in the region, the menace was still on the ascendancy.
“These figures from the fire outbreaks in the region are really a worrying phenomenon and a development that requires collective effort by all and sundry to mitigate it,” he stressed.
DOI Nii Dodoo highlighted that section 2 of PNDC Law 229 of 1990 prescribed a fine of up to 250 penalty units plus up to 12 months’ imprisonment for a person who started a fire that resulted in a bush fire.
He noted that although section 5 of the same law mandated metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to institute bushfire control sub-committees to regulate the burning of vegetation within their respective jurisdictions, no assembly in the region had fulfilled that mandate yet.
He therefore encouraged Municipal and District Chief Executives and Assembly members in the region to fulfil the legal requirement in their respective areas.
Mr Dodoo added that Legislative Instrument 1724 Regulations of 2003 also made it mandatory for all public residential facilities, health institutions, schools and training centres as well as other places for large public assembly to acquire fire certificates to enable them to operate smoothly.
The Acting Commander called on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to partner the GNFS to provide fire services for the government’s flagship agriculture programmes.
He also advised individuals to acquire fire extinguishers as a first aid appliance for their respective homes.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA
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