The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) in the North East Region significantly reduced the incidence of fire outbreaks in the Region last year through intensified fire safety education, engineering and enforcement of by-laws.
The Region recorded 29 fire outbreaks and six road traffic crashes, with five deaths as compared to 43 fire outbreaks, 15 road crashes and nine deaths in 2018.
The North East Regional Fire Commander, Divisional Officer Grade 1 (DO1) Anthony Gyasi-Boateng who made this known at Gambaga in the East Mamprusi Municipality when Mr Ambrose Dery paid a day's working visit to the Region, said the Command was poised to further reduce the numbers.
He said the Fire Safety Team conducted inspections and fire audits on high-rise buildings, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and fuel stations, Guest houses, educational institutions, private and government agencies in the Region and that contributed to the success.
It also embarked on educational programmes on safety across the Region, especially at market centres, churches, mosques and lorry parks among other public places.
He said a two-hour radio airtime was secured from NOBYAH FM at Nalerigu, the Regional capital, to help disseminate the message of fire safety to the people since resource constraints coupled with poor road network in the Region made it difficult to reach out to many.
Even though the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC)allocated the Nalerigu Town Library block to the Service for temporal use as the Regional headquarters, the Commander said the structure was not suitable for habitation.
He said the development compelled him to operate from a single room office at the RCC, while the rest of the headquarters' staff including; the Deputy Fire Commander, operated from the Gambaga Fire Station, "This makes monitoring a bit tedious and ineffective."
The Commander disclosed that the Paramount Chief of the Mamprugu Traditional Area, the Nayiri, Naa Bohagu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga, had allocated a five acre parcel of land at Nalerigu for the construction of a standard Regional headquarters.
DO1 Gyasi-Boateng said the Region had six administrative Districts with only three Fire Stations, namely the Walewale Fire Station in the West Mamprusi Municipality, the Gambaga station in the East Mamprusi Municipality and the Bunkpurugu Fire Station in the Bunkpurugu- Nakpanduri District.
He said the total staff strength of the Region was 84, with four vehicles, out of which one was unserviceable, and appealed to the Minister for the Interior to help address the numerous challenges facing the service for effective delivery.
Addressing the Officers, Mr Dery said the staff strength of the Service was inadequate, and gave the assurance that the Ministry would improve the numbers, because the GNFS was one of the critical security agencies that government was putting measures in place to upgrade to international standards.
According to him, the Ministry of Interior under President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo recruited the highest number of Fire Officers since Ghana's Independence, "We have recruited thousands of Fire Officers, but in the case of your region, we understand that the numbers are not good enough."