The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has urged firefighters across the country to take the necessary steps to foster good relationships with people within their catchment areas to prevent attacks on firefighters.
In a message to mark International Firefighters Day (IFFD), which is commemorated on May 4, the Chief Fire Officer, Julius Kuunuor, indicated that reports of mob attacks on firefighters had come to their notice and had since been a source of worry to the council and the management.
He said management of the service condemned such acts in their entirety and instituted steps to delve deeper into specific cases to find a lasting solution to them.
“Personnel should take the necessary measures to foster a good rapport between the service and the indigenes within their catchment areas to prevent some of these attacks,” he advised.
On the IFFD, Mr Kuunuor said the day was set aside to highlight and appreciate the immense contributions and selfless sacrifices made by firefighters globally.
He commended firefighters for their tireless and resilient efforts in saving lives and properties from the ravages of fire and other life-threatening situations.
He noted the Appiatse explosion in the Prestea Huni Valley District in the Western Region on Thursday, January 20, 2022, as one of such incidents in which the heroic actions of firefighters were on full display.
He said the incident also brought to the fore the risk firefighters had to take to keep others safe, even at the peril of their lives.
“Fellow firefighters, in spite of our impressive achievements, we have not been spared some challenges in relation to our mandate. I wish to assure you of the commitment and efforts being made by the government to address them,” he added.
Work to achieve objectives
He paid respect to firefighters who had lost their lives in the course of duty.
“The GNFS has had to particularly grapple with the loss of one of our own, ADOII Joseph Baidoo of the Agona Swedru Fire Station, a gallant fireman who simply responded to a call to duty but, in the process of saving others, gave up his life.
“Fellow firefighters, the fatal accident that involved five of our men while responding to a fire call on the Kwame Danso-Atebubu road was most regrettable. Thankfully, the quick and timely response from the sector minister, the Fire Service Council and the management ensured that the casualties were flown to Accra for appropriate medical attention and all our firefighters are currently in good health,” he added.
Mr Kuunuor urged firefighters not to rest on their laurels but work harder to achieve the aim of the service — to educate, save lives and protect properties.
In October last year, a Fire Officer, ADOII Joseph Aidoo with the Agona Swedru Fire Service, lost his life in an attempt to save three persons who were drowning in a well at Gomoa Obuasi in the Central Region.
The three were later removed from the well and treated at the Agona Swedru Hospital.
Also in 2010, a Deputy Group Officer (DGO), Hannah Yawson, fell from the fifth floor of the Cedi House during a simulation fire rescue exercise.
After undertaking three successful ‘rescue’ operations during the simulation exercise, it was the turn of DGO Yawson to be ‘rescued’ from the 5th floor of the building, but disaster struck in the course of the operation when the rope tied to the chair snapped, leading to her fall.
She is said to have trained firemen on the use of a line (rope) for rescue operations for the past 12 years.
International Firefighters Day
The IFFD is commemorated on May 4, each year to remember firefighters who died while serving communities or dedicated their lives to protecting the safety of people.
It is also a day to show support and appreciation to firefighters worldwide by wearing blue and red ribbons.
The IFFD blue and red ribbons are linked to colours symbolic of the main elements firefighters work with — red for fire and blue for water.