Fire Service suspends issuance of permits, certificates for opening of new fuel stations

BY: Salomey Appiah

The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has suspended the issuance of permits and certificates for new fuel stations.

That is to enable the service to conduct fire safety audit on existing fuel stations to ascertain if the operators are complying with safety laws and standards.

The Chief Fire Officer, Mr Albert Brown Gaisie, announced at a meeting with representatives of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) in Accra yesterday that a taskforce would be set up to conduct the audit and those found culpable would have their fire certificates revoked.

He explained that the Fire Precaution (Premises) Regulations, L.I. 1724 spelt out clearly the fire safety measures with their accompanying sanctions if defied.
The law, Mr Gaisie said, permitted the GNFS to sanction companies and businesses that did not comply with fire safety standards.

Reports from Daily Graphic archives from 2007 to 2014 show that while 39 people died, 186 people sustained various degrees of injury in the 11 reported accidents involving LPG tankers, LPG filling stations and domestic calamities.

Five of the incidents involved gas stations, fuel stations and a fuel dump, while three were gas tanker crashes, with the remaining three being domestic accidents.
As recent as June 3, 2015, an explosion at the Goil fuel station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra killed 76 people. In a similar incident in Kumasi, a fuel tanker explosion killed two children.

Law enforcement

Mr Gaisie said fuel stations without safety measures such as emergency exits, warning signs, control panels, assembling points, firefighting equipment as well as automatic suppression systems would face the law.
With the collaboration of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Mr Gaisie said all filling stations that were a threat to public safety would also be closed down.

"We are going to effectively, efficiently and vigorously enforce the law without any compromise on safety standards, because there are serious consequences of these occurrences,” he said.
He stressed that the lives and safety of the public could not be compromised, for which reason preventive, precautionary and protection measures must be put in place to guard public safety.

Focus on safety

Mr Gaisie, therefore, urged the companies not only to focus on their profits but also ensure the safety of the environment and the people in their surroundings.

A representative of Goil Company Limited, Mr Kofi Nyarko, promised that the companies would put in place the necessary measures, improve on what they already had and learn from what had happened.