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Kwame Anyimadu Antwi (middle), Council Chairman, Ghana National Fire Service, in discussion with Julius Kuunuor (left), Chief Fire Officer, Ghana National Fire Service, and Prof. Elvis Asare-Bediako, Vice-Chancellor, University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR). Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY
Kwame Anyimadu Antwi (middle), Council Chairman, Ghana National Fire Service, in discussion with Julius Kuunuor (left), Chief Fire Officer, Ghana National Fire Service, and Prof. Elvis Asare-Bediako, Vice-Chancellor, University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR). Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY

Fire safety confab underway in Accra

A Conference aimed at fostering collaboration, sharing knowledge and formulating strategies to enhance the country’s fire preparedness and response is underway in Accra.

The three-day conference which started last Wednesday, offers the Ghana National Fire Service the opportunity to delve into challenges it faces on the field of work and also identify strategies to overcome them.

It is on the theme: “60 years of existence: Ensuring effective fire management — The role of stakeholders”, and encapsulates the essence of its journey over the past six decades, while underscoring the critical role each stakeholder plays in ensuring effective fire management.

It is being attended by stakeholders in the fire safety management sector, which comprises regional heads, the Ghana Water Company Limited, the Ghana Institute of Safety and Environment Professionals (GhISEP) and the Ghana Electrical Contractors Association (GECA).

Consequences of fire

The Chairman of the Fire Service Council, Kwame Anyimadu Antwi, who spoke on behalf of the Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery, said fires had devastating consequences on lives, property and the environment.

He said the ability to prevent, manage and mitigate those risks was essential to safety and the development of the country.  

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Mr Dery said for that reason the fire officers and partners must be commended for their tireless efforts, including putting their lives on the line to protect the public and communities.

He, however, urged the officers to intensify education on the need for citizens to always protect their homes, neighbourhoods and property.

“Prevention is a cornerstone of our fire safety strategy.

We need to continue raising awareness about the importance of fire prevention measures, from fire-safe building designs to responsible land management practices,” the minister added.

He also said that cooperation and coordination among stakeholders was paramount since it was through such partnerships that the service could mobilise resources swiftly and efficiently.

“Advances in firefighting equipment, early warning systems and data analytics are transforming our ability to combat fires effectively.

“We must invest in these technologies and leverage them to stay one step ahead of wildfires and urban fires,” Mr Dery added.

Collaboration

The Chief Fire Officer (CFO), Julius A. Kuunuor, said the service recognised the importance of collaboration, synergy and shared responsibility in safeguarding the country from the devastating effects of fire.

“We must work together as a community to raise awareness about the causes, prevention and dangers of fires and other incidents and take every necessary and proactive measures to prevent them from occurring in the first place,” he added.

Fire outbreaks

The service recorded a decrease in fire outbreaks for the period January 1, 2023, to November 30, 2023, representing a 4.9 per cent, as compared to the same period last year.

“We also attended to 532 road traffic accidents which claimed 263 lives and caused 2,557 injuries from January 1, 2023, to November 30, 2023, as against 582 accidents in 2022 where there were 322 deaths and 2,637 injury cases,” Mr Kuunuor said.

“We will celebrate our successes, learn from our failures, collectively chart a path that aligns with contemporary challenges in fire management, as well as lay the foundation for a future where fire management is more efficient, effective and inclusive,” he said.

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