NEWS COMMENTARY ON DOMESTIC FIRE OUTBREAKS IN GHANA
Gone were the days when people used fire woods, lanterns, box irons and some flammable items in the domestic setting. During those times, the usage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG and household Electrical appliances we use now were very rare. Domestic fire outbreaks in Ghana in recent years have become a matter of concern to many people. Many cities in Ghana such as Accra, Tema, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale were the most affected places in the past few years when it comes to domestic fire outbreaks. Many lives have been lost in such fires. It is unfortunate that a few weeks ago in Dansoman a suburb of Accra, fire claimed the lives of almost an entire family living only the man alive. These recent development have left many Ghanaians wondering what to do to avert the outbreaks. It is important for the Ghana National Fire Service to intensify education on fire related issues so as to help reduce the fires.
NADMO, NCCE, Ministries of Information and Communication should collaborate to help in hazards and risks control sensitization and education across the country. The Electricity Company of Ghana must also take the needed steps to sensitise their customers on how to use electrical gadgets safely to prevent fires. Metropolitan, Municipal and District Authorities should ensure strict adherence to fire safety standards in relations to buildings and structures within their jurisdictions. Our religious leaders should consider offering their pulpits and mosques to fire safety officers to educate their congregations on fire safety measures to curtail the rampant domestic fire outbreaks. It is vital for households to acquire fire extinguishers and learn how to use them when fire breaks out. The huge direct and indirect costs of domestic fire to the nation, communities and families, include, state compensation to victims or families, treatment cost, loss of family members’ and time with injured persons, psychological problems, loss of working time to the victims, trauma, among others.
It is important as a country to move away from been reactive and be proactive in our attitudes towards fires. The Institutions mandated to ensure safety must engage in active monitoring by checking and ensuring that public facilities and residential buildings as well as structures comply with safety standards. As individuals we must cultivate the habit of rectifying situations that could trigger fire outbreaks. In so doing we will be saving our lives and that of our love ones. Fire, they say is a good servant but a bad master. Let us all take steps to ensure that our domestic appliances give us comfort and convenience and not death.
BY: PHILIP NANA ASANTE, HEALTH SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENT EXPERT & CONSULTANT AT PB PROTECTION CENTRE.