The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) says 5,531 fire outbreaks were recorded across the country, in 2018, compared with the 2017 total of 4,544 cases.
Mr. James Yaw Kwarteng, the Acting Public Relations Officer, said 44 lives were lost through those fires, 11 more than the previous year’s figure of 33.
He put the cost of damage to property as of November 2018, at over GH¢28.87 million. That of 2017, was GH¢36.28million.
About 3,753 of last year’s fires were extinguished by the GNFS, while 1,823 cases were quenched by residents in the community or neighbourhood.
Also, out of the 4,544 cases, in 2017, 2,995 of them were put out by the Fire Service and the remaining 1,549 tackled by residents in the area.
Mr Kwarteng, who was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), in an interview, blamed the increasing spate of fire outbreaks in the country to the neglect of fire safety rules.
He mentioned overloading of electrical sockets, improper and careless use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), open electrical gadgets in homes and offices, improper handling of flammable liquids, as the main causes of fire outbreaks.
He urged the public to engage qualified electricians to wire their property and to avoid the use of fake cables.
Mr Kwarteng said the GNFS had embarked on door-to-door fire safety education campaign in the various communities to assist the people to do the right things.
As part of measures to control market fires, personnel of the Service have been deployed to all the markets to educate traders on fire safety, so as to protect lives and property.
He said a recent report by the Ghana Standards Authority about the influx of substandard electrical products on the market was a huge cause for worry to the GNFS, as electrical fires were on the increase in homes due to the choice of inferior electrical products over quality ones.
He appealed to the media to give strong support to the public education campaign on fire safety to bring down fire disasters.
He reminded everybody that fire safety was a shared responsibility and when all stakeholders’ played their effective roles, fire disasters would significantly go down.
Mr Kwarteng advised farmers to work with fire volunteers in their communities to prevent bushfires.