Nine (9) persons have been killed in nine hundred and sixteen (916) fire incidents in the Ashanti Region between January 1 2023 and December 10, 2023, according to the Ashanti Region Command of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS).
While the fatalities are a reduction from fifteen )15) deaths recorded in the year 2022; the number of fires has also seen a decline from the 2022 figures which stood at a thousand and fifty-eight (1,058) fire incidents over the same period.
The value of properties lost to fire incidents in the year 2023 reached an alarming GH¢226,701,206.00 compared to GH $26,400,710.00 in the year 2022.
The fire command however indicates that the damages could have been worse as personnel successfully salvaged property worth GH¢370,050,480.00 compared to last year when the service managed to salvage property valued at GH¢34,231,245.00.
The command insists the fires were avoidable as a majority were caused by Misuse of electricity, naked lights, and electrical faults.
Also featuring among the causes of fires were gas leaks, unattended cooking, and other preventable and avoidable causes.
The fire service has however commended the region for taking its education on managing small fires seriously as 365 fires were successfully put out before the fire service arrived at the scene.
“The decline in incidents is credited to the collaborative efforts of Firefighters and Fire Rescuers, members of the local communities, the media, and ongoing public fire safety awareness campaigns by our Public Fire Safety Education Teams.,” a statement signed by Ashanti Region Fire Commander ACFO I Henry Giwah noted.
The Fire Command has however called for stronger cooperation and collaboration with residents to ensure a sustained reduction of fire incidents in the Ashanti region.
The service for instance wants the public to endeavor to switch off their electrical equipment when not in use; avoid unattended cooking; fix all leaking LPG cylinders and avoid overfilling them.
As the dry harmattan winds set in, the GNFS has further urged people to avoid indiscriminate bush refuse to burn and avoid overloading their electrical circuits to minimize the risk of fires.
The service is also advocating the installation of early warning systems including smoke alarms on domestic and commercial premises to alert occupants of any fire situation to enable their quick and safe escape.
Fire safety numbers:
As part of its measures to avoid needless fires in the Christmas and overall harmattan season, the command wants emergency numbers saved on phones and inscribed at vantage points to facilitate prompt response to fire and other life-threatening emergencies.
The service assures that it has put in place adequate contingencies to step up public fire education and attend to fire scenes in line with its mandate to protect lives and property.
“We want residents in the Ashanti Region to reach out quickly via these hotlines 0505001415 / 0322022221 and national emergency number 112 / 192 for swift response,” ACFO I Giwah added.