Dr Albert Brown Gaisie, Chief Fire Officer on Thursday said the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) Safety Audit conducted between June 2016 to 2017 revealed that most institutions were not fire safety compliant.

He said the Fire Safety Audit conducted, which was conducted in 1,880 Institutions made up of Ministriues, Departments and Agencies countrywide revealed that majority of them did not have fire extinguishers and the few that had did not install them properly or well classified.

“In most cases curtains are covering the extinguishers, burnt and broken sockets, and old electrical wires are hanging all over,” he said and emphasised the need for all to be fire safety conscious to save lives and property.

Dr Gaisie, who was speaking at a quarterly press briefing in Accra, said by law, MDAs are supposed to acquire Fire certificates but their inspection revealed that majority of them were not complying.

He said their investigations also revealed that about 90 per cent of media houses did not have water hydrants in their premises.

“From next week Monday, the GNFS Task Force will go round these institutions to ensure compliance. We cannot allow government institutions to be engulfed in fires and lose vital documents when those fires can be prevented,” he added.

The Chief Fire Officer said the Service was giving those institutions a period of time to do things right and announced that the Service would also be having series of stimulation exercises for media organisations to get staff ready for any eventualities, adding, investments in those organisations are enormous and owners must show interest in safeguarding them.

“Fire Safety, prevention and management is a shared responsibility and everybody needs to show concern in curbing the menace. If our negligence did not start the fire, GNFS will have no fires to extinguish,” he added.

Dr Gaisie said another area of concern to the Service was fires from electric heaters at homes, transformers and other electrical fires, and they were collaborating with the Electricity Corporation of Ghana to address the issue.

He said the first quarter of 2017, the Service recorded 116 electrical fires and emphasised the need to cover some of the transformers to avoid being exposed to the sunlight and rain to reduce the rise of electrical fires in the country.

The Chief Fire Officer said another worry to the Service was accidents and vehicular fires and advised car owners to ensure regular maintenance and engage qualified and licensed mechanics to fix the cars.

Dr Gaisie said despite the challenges, the Service was able to reduce fire outbreaks from 2,969 in the first and second quarters of 2016 to 2,455 during the same period in 2017, a reduction of 41 per cent.

He said the market fires also reduced drastically because of the introduction of the patrol duties in the markets, adding, “we must all have the duty to avert the occurrences of fire outbreaks in the country.”