We are seriously resource-constrained, but we still do our best - Fire Service
We are seriously resource-constrained, but we still do our best - Fire Service

We are seriously resource-constrained, but we still do our best - Fire Service

The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has appealed to the government and corporate entities to provide the necessary resources to enable it to effectively and efficiently execute its mandate.


ACFOI Timothy Osafo-Affum, the Head of Public Relations of the GNFS, lamented that the institution was facing a serious resource crisis, adversely affecting their operations and painting a negative image of the service.

This reaction comes in response to a viral video on social media showing firefighters struggling to battle a blaze. The video sparked public outrage, with many netizens describing the fire service as ineffective.

However, when officials from the GNFS paid a courtesy call on Graphic Online on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 to deepen collaboration between the two institutions, ACFOI Osafo-Affum explained that the GNFS operates with old tenders and fire engines, which sometimes pose problems when tackling emergencies.

"The video that you saw, it is just because the vehicle is old, so the pump failed, and that’s why it was not pumping efficiently. The pressure, as you saw, was very low, and it took time before the pressure built up," he said.

"We have a well-trained human resource base, but it lacks the equipment to operate efficiently and effectively. It is not our fault. The state is unable to resource the fire service," ACFOI Osafo-Affum added.

He further explained that due to the unique nature of fire engines and tenders, they need to be upgraded periodically with new technologies to enable firefighters to become better at their jobs.

"On the ground, all our vehicles are very old. We should have replaced them at least five years ago, but we are still operating them because the government has not been able to provide us with new ones," he elaborated.

"So what happens is that they break down frequently. As I speak to you now, every bit of money that comes in goes into maintenance because we can’t just sit down and say that if the government has not supplied us with new equipment, we will not work," he said.

In addition to old vehicles, ACFOI Osafo-Affum also lamented that other major stakeholders in emergency management and response were not providing assistance as efficiently as required, due to the same issue of inadequate resources.

"For example, we don’t supply water for ourselves; we take it from the Ghana Water Company Limited, and they are also constrained. So you’ll realise that people keep complaining that we arrived without water," he said.

"It is not an issue of arriving without water. The fire tender is built in a specific way. If you put a lot of water in it, movement then becomes a problem. So calculations are made to ensure speed and at the same time, to ensure there’s enough water for the job," he added.

"Under normal circumstances, in an area, there has to be a fire hydrant every 150 meters. Not just a hydrant, but a flowing hydrant at the required pressure. But here lies the issue that when you go to most areas, there are no hydrants, and the ones that do exist either have no water or inadequate pressure," he stressed.

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