Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana has opened infrastructure projects and operational vehicles for the Ghana National Fire Service as well as the Fire Academy and Training School.
Dr. Bawumia opened two 2-storey dormitory blocks, a two-storey classroom block and a dining hall for the Fire Academy and Training School. He also opened 2 hydraulic platforms and a Rapid Intervention Vehicle (RIV) for the Operational use of the Ghana National Fire Service.
Speaking at the ceremony today December 23, Dr. Bawumia disclosed that the facilities, which are fully funded by the government, forms part of plans by government to resource and help the Ghana National Fire Service to deliver on its core mandate more effectively and also to equip the Fire Academy and Training School to be among the best on the African continent.
“In the coming years, government intends to make the Fire Academy and Training School Africa’s best by providing training facilities such as simulators which comprises of firefighting simulators and urban search and rescue simulators to help keep firefighters abreast with modern firefighting and rescue skills.
“Government is also considering the acquisition of firefighting and rescue helicopters as a long term solution to some of the delivery challenges of Ghana National Fire Service.”VEEP
The Vice President further added that, the government, through the Interior Ministry and the Fire Service Council, has also acquired plots of land in various parts of the Country to build additional training facilities for the ease and effective training of Serving Fire Officers as well as prospective Fire Officers.
Improvement Of Personnel For Service
Touching on improvement of personnel for the Service, the Vice President revealed that since the coming into office of the NPP Government in 2017, the Ghana National Fire Service has been given permission to recruit in excess of seven thousand (7000) personnel to augment the manpower strength of the Service.
According to Dr Bawumia, this demonstrates Government’s efforts of ensuring that, the Ghana National Fire Service has adequate personnel to expand its operations to cover all Districts of the Country.
The Vice President, admonished the Service and students of the facility to take good care of the facilities. “I urge personnel of the Fire Service, to remain steadfast and committed to your mandate of saving lives and property,” he indicated.
“The firefighting profession, the world over, is considered as one of the most sacred jobs owing to the extent of sacrifices and commitment required of you.
“Your responsibility to our dear country is very crucial and directly linked with the nation’s socio-economic development. When fires are kept at bay, lives are preserved and property and investments are also protected.”VEEP
Other dignitaries at the ceremony included the Minister for Interior and the Chief Fire Officer.
History Of The GNFS
In the pre-colonial era, before the existence of Fire Service, fires were controlled by Traditional rulers, using the Asafo Companies (Traditional Soldiers) to fight all kinds of fires in their communities and localities. It was not until 1955 before the colonial government found the need to reorganize the various Asafo Companies into vibrant groups to tackle both domestic and bushfires as there were only a few industries.
With the restructuring of the political administration of the Gold Coast into Local Government concept, a lot of the members of the Asafo Companies opted to become employees of the Local Government Institutions in the Country. In time the responsibility of firefighting became a duty of the Police Force.
The idea of a National Fire Service was conceived in 1955 when the colonial Government invited Mr. S. M. Charters (ORE) of her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Fire Service into the country and to among other things, advise on the organization and establishment of Fire Service in Municipalities and in certain urban towns.
In 1962, the Government of Ghana employed the services of a Fire Advisory Expert, Mr. G. S. Leader, under the United Kingdom-Ghana Technical Assistance Programme to help formulate a policy on the formation of a National Fire Service which had long been contemplated.
The primary aim of the Ghana National Fire Service at its established in 1963 by Act 219 was firefighting and extinguishment, and to render humanitarian services. Subsequently, in 1997 the Ghana National Fire Service Act (Act 537) was enacted to re-establish the Ghana National Fire Service with the objective of prevention and management of undesired fires and other related matters.
The purpose of Act 537 was to expand the functions of the GNFS taking into cognisance modern trends in the Fire Services all over the world; from fire intervention to fire prevention and safety from fire and other emergencies, thereby protecting the people, industry, crops and the vegetation.