THE LIVES of hundreds of Ghanaians and property are in grave danger should a fire disaster strike a home, a market place, a state institution or a corporate entity in any part of the country.
This is because since January this year, the government has failed to release funds allocated for the fuelling of tenders to fight fires at the various regional and district offices of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS).
The implication is that, if there is a fire outbreak and a victim makes a distress call to the offices of the GNFS, it is either they would be greeted with an excuse or would be met with unnecessary delays.
Senior offices since the beginning of the year have had to use their own monies out of their meager salaries to fuel the tenders for operations.
Investigations conducted by the DAILY HERITAGE reveal that only GH˘1, 000.00 was released by the government to some regional offices last month with other district fire posts receiving a paltry sum of GH˘300.00.
A senior fire officer who pleaded strict condition of anonymity told the paper that “since January of this year, I have, like my colleagues in other regions, being using my own money to buy fuel to enable the tenders run.
“We cannot continue like this. We are supposed to be resourced by the government. The arrears are too much and if a market should be hit by a fire outbreak, it would be difficult for us to combat the fire.”
He added that as fire officers, they are living in constant fear of a major fire disaster breaking out.
He averred that even at the national headquarters of the Ghana National Fire Service there is a problem of fuel allocation.
He claimed that the filling stations are refusing to sell fuel to the various regional fire offices because they owe them millions of cedis.
“When they drive the tenders to the filling stations, they turn them away. So if there is a fire outbreak, we should not expect the fire service to rush to douse a fire because there is lack of fuel,” he added.
Asked what has accounted for the fuel shortage, the worried officer said the hierarchy of the GNFS do not prioritize emergency fire-fighting, thus, funds allocated to them are used for other activities.
“It is not necessarily that the government is cash-strapped, the bosses do not prioritize emergency fire-fighting. Providing fuel for the various regional and district offices is not a priority to them,” the source said.
Source: Daily Heritage
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