Public urged to take basic preventive measures against fire

Accra, Members of the public have been urged to take basic preventive measures against fire outbreaks to save lives and property.

Mr Ellis Robinson Okoe, the Head of Public Relations, Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that whilst the Service would ensure that the citizens were well educated on fire prevention and fighting, fire safety is a shared responsibility.

He said there were basic but effective fire prevention measures that could easily be practiced by anyone or group.

Outlining some of those basic measures, Mr Okoe said first it was important to ensure that the wiring of buildings was done by qualified electricians.

He said it was equally important that only certified electricians checked on faulty electrical gadgets and all other electrical faults, stressing that as much as possible, naked flames should be avoided.

He said with the availability of rechargeable lamps and other lighting sources open flames should be avoided adding; Open flames significantly accounted for fire outbreaks.

Mr Okoe advised against the keeping of flammables such as petrol and diesel in the house because these could easily cause a fire at the least mistake.

He advised against the over-loading of electrical extension boards and said although those boards contained a number of sockets, they could get over-heated and explode as a result of over-loading with too many electrical gadgets.

Mr Okoe said it was important to check for gas-cylinder leakages as often as possible adding that electrical cables should also not be placed underneath carpets.

Gadgets like air conditioners, television and radio sets can get heated when plugged in for prolonged periods. Please unplug these gadgets when you are about to sleep or leave the house.

I urge people to try as much as possible not to multi-task in-between activities such as ironing and cooking at the same time. You could easily forget about one, and that might be enough to start a fire, he said.

Mr Okoe urged individuals and organisations to have emergency escape routes and outlets in their homes and offices respectively.

He said it was important that people also practiced how the escape would be done in case of fire in order to get things right at the time of need.

Mr Okoe said getting smoke detectors as well as fire extinguishers for homes, offices and the marketplace was an excellent way of preventing and fighting fires.

Most fires start from a limited area before spreading out. The ability to detect and extinguish them at the very beginning is typically an excellent preventive measure, he said.

Mr Okoe advised that as much as possible, items in rooms and offices be placed in a way that slows the quick spread of fire, and also allows easy movement, which helps with escape in the event of a fire.

He said items not in use could be removed from rooms to create more space and ventilation.

Fire spreads from one object to another, so the fewer objects there are, the slower the pace of the fire, Mr Okoe said.

He said it was important that people had the contact numbers of the Fire Service sub-stations within their communities for quick service as the general emergency 192 was often choked.

“The GNFS will continue educating the public, but I urge members of the public to please practice what we tell them. Once this is done, most fire outbreaks would easily be prevented,” Mr Okoe said.

Source: Ghana News Agency