The Central Region lost an estimated GH₵251,870.00 worth of property to fire outbreaks in the first quarter of 2022.
This figure, represents about 66.8 per cent increase over last year’s loss of GH₵161,602.00 during the same period.
Division Officer (DOIII) Abdul Wasiu Hudu, Central Regional Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), disclosed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency.
In all, June 2022 recorded the highest figure of GH₵80,874, followed by May GH₵74,096, March GH₵30,712, January GH₵24,467, February GH₵18,213 and April GH₵13,508.
The region, however, recorded an increase in fire outbreaks from 428 in the first quarter of 2021 to 458 in 2022.
The seven per cent increase was largely driven by bushfires, domestic, vehicle collision, industrial and commercial fires.
Over the same period, he said, domestic fires increased from 107 to 116, vehicular from 31 to 36, commercial, from 48 to 58, institutional from 11 to 17 while rescue mission rose from zero to six.
DOIII Hudu said that the GNFS had diligently carried out its task of managing fires by undertaking rescue operations and related matters but noted sadly that in spite of frantic efforts being made by the Service to combat fire outbreaks in the region, the menace was still on the ascendancy.
He stated that section two of PNDC Law 229 of 1990 prescribed a fine of up to 250 penalty units plus up to 12 months’ imprisonment for a person who started a fire that resulted in bush fire.
Although section five of the same law mandated Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to institute bushfire control sub-committees to regulate the burning of vegetation within their respective jurisdictions, many assemblies in the region had not fulfilled that mandate.
He therefore encouraged MMDAs in the region to fulfil the legal requirement in their respective areas.
Also, he said Legislative Instrument 1724 Regulations of 2003, made it mandatory for all public residential facilities, health institutions, schools and training centres as well as other places for large public assembly to acquire fire certificates to enable them to operate smoothly.
He also advised individuals to acquire fire extinguishers as a first aid appliance for their respective homes, and They should also be extra cautious in dealing with fire outbreaks, saying it was unfortunate that people usually rushed to fire accident scenes without any precautionary measures and urged all to desist from the practice.
“Drivers and car owners should try as much as possible to have serviceable fire extinguishers in their vehicles all the time, this will help tackle fires at the early stage before the arrival of firefighters,” he said.