The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has stated that the formation and adoption of fire volunteer concept by various farming communities would help prevent frequent fire outbreaks.
It said members of fire volunteer groups mostly live within the communities and knew location of farms therefore they respond promptly to any fire incident and help mitigate the spread.
Against this backdrop, Mrs. Georgina Agyare-Kwabi, Deputy Director of Rural Fire Department of the GNFS, has tasked various farming communities in the country to constitute fire volunteer groups, in order to augment the efforts of the GNFS personnel to combat fire occurrence.
Addressing some fire volunteers in the Juaboso District of the Western Region at Sefwi-Juaboso, on Thursday, during an anti-bushfire campaign, Mrs. Agyare-Kwabi , pledged the Service’s commitment to provide the necessary logistics to enhance the work of the volunteers.
She said the Bushfire legislature, PNDCL 229 of 1993, required anyone burning his/her farm to inform the fire volunteers to supervise it and afterwards beneficiaries pay fees to them, in order to sustain their activities.
However, those who decline to comply with the law would be arrested and fined to serve as a deterrent to others.
She said the President directed the GNFS National Anti-bushfire Taskforce to visit all the 10 regions, to intensify education on fire safety regulations following the increase in fire cases across the country.
The Deputy Director of Rural Fire noted that the recurrent fire incidents could have consequential effects on the country’s food security therefore all stakeholders, including chiefs, assembly members and all well-meaning Ghanaians must join the crusade to combat the menace.
“We are also here to assess the fire volunteer groups in the region to ascertain those who are active and those that are dormant so that we can find a meaningful way to revamp them,” she said.
Divisional Officer Grade one James Emmanuel Quao, who is also the Deputy Regional Fire Commander, appealed to various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to support to the fire volunteers to ensure efficient and effective delivery.
He asked the Juaboso District Assembly to assist the District Fire Station to complete a structure, in order to accommodate a fire tender allocated to the District.
He said the 1983 famine that Ghana experienced could be attributed to recurrent fire outbreaks and therefore called for collective efforts to prevent such a phenomenon from re-occurring.
During an open forum, the Leader of the District Fire Volunteer squad, Mr. Joseph Manso enumerated a number of items they needed to ensure efficiency in their work.
They included wellington boots, cutlasses, rain coats, motorbikes, identity cards and mobile phones.
The Chief of Sefwi-Juaboso, Nana Kwasi Mensah II, pledged the support and cooperation of the traditional authorities to help combat the fire outbreaks being experienced in the country.
Earlier, Mr. Patrick Aparik, the District Coordinating Director, stated that the District was one of the leading producers of cocoa and other food crops in the country therefore uncontrolled bushfires could have devastating effects on the country’s future food supply.
He said although the District was financially constrained due to inadequate internally-generated funds, however, it would manage to contribute its widow’s mites towards curbing the fire incidents in the area.
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