The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has warned Ghanaians that the priority on security rather than safety, especially with the use of burglar-proof systems in homes, needs to be reviewed.
It said a thief would normally bargain for valuables, but fire “will consume everything, including the humans occupying the buildings”.
In a statement issued in Accra on Wednesday in the aftermath of last Sunday’s fire disaster at Dansoman that claimed the lives of five people in a house, the GNFS said it was time the public sought professional advice in the use of burglar-proof systems in the construction of buildings.
The advice from experts, according to the service, would ensure emergency exits through one of the windows in every room.
“An inquest into this reveals that it is possible to create an exit route in the construction of these systems,” it said.
The service also offered further advice and tips to make homes safer to forestall fire outbreaks.
It said employing the services of professionals to do the wiring of homes was critical, while the avoidance of multiple chores in the house, such as cooking and ironing at the same time, was important to forestall distraction and fires.
It advised Ghanaians to seek professional advice when installing electrical equipment and avoid the use of naked flames such as candles and the overloading of sockets.
They should also check for gas leakages and switch off gadgets that were not meant to stay on overnight.
It also advised the public not to dispose of unwanted belongings that could serve as fuel to increase the spread of fire during outbreaks and also observe basic housekeeping practices, such as creating access for escape during emergencies.
The statement underscored the need for residents to avoid running extension cords under carpets.
They should also have portable fire extinguishers and fire detectors and stop the storage of flammables such as petrol in their homes.
“Store the number of the nearest fire station in your community on your mobile phone, apart from the emergency 192. Time is of essence during emergencies. Visit the website www.gnfs.gov.gh for more information,” it stated.