Statistics from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) suggests that domestic fires outbreaks are on the rise, with the highest in 2019 and 2020.
The years 2019 and 2020 recorded 1,822 and 1,910 fire outbreaks from January to October.
The domestic fire incidents from January to October represented 39.63 per cent and 35.67 per cent of total fire outbreaks in both years.
This was followed by bush fires recording 608 incidents in 2019 and 1,220 cases in 2020 during the same time period.
There was an increase of fire outbreaks from January to October 2019 from 4,623 to 5,355 for the same period in 2020.
According to 2020 statistics made available by the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), the fire incidents also claimed 222 lives, and left 1,125 people with varying degrees of injury.
Ashanti Region topped the chart with 990 fire outbreaks in that same year, while Greater Accra Region followed with 662 cases.
North East Region had the least cases of fire with 22 incidents.
The causes of the fire outbreaks were categorised as domestic, industrial, vehicular, institutional, electrical, commercial and bushfire.
Fires from domestic establishments topped with 1,758 cases in the year under review.
Disregard for fire safety rules
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the GNFS, Divisional Officer II Ellis Robinson Okoe, attributed the situation to disregard for fire safety rules.
He said the lockdown was responsible for the rise in domestic fire outbreaks during the period.
According to him, a lot of domestic activities took place during the period and that resulted in over 272 domestic fire outbreaks.
“People engage in multiple chores when they are at home; someone could be ironing and cooking at the same time, and when that happens, you may give more attention to one. This could easily trigger a fire,” Mr Okoe said.
Fire safety precautions
To reduce such occurrences, he advised that people should make sure they put all appliances off before leaving their homes.
Mr Okoe also underscored the need to embark on some basic general cleaning to clear all cobwebs and also decongest their homes to help reduce materials which could serve as fuel during an outbreak.
“Cobwebs are also another major cause of fire outbreak. Any little flame that comes into contact with it can easily result in fire. I want to advise people to clear all cobweb and dispose of unwanted clothing which also serves as fuel when there is any outbreak in our homes,” Mr Okoe said.
He also emphasised the need for homes to have emergency exit routes to ensure easy escape and help save lives.
Mr Okoe said most fires in commercial areas were caused by congested environments, and they happened especially in the latter part of the year when many people trooped in from far and near to trade ahead of the festive season.
He said markets needed to have task forces to ensure traders observe fire safety protocols and safety routine plans.
Mr Okoe further advised the public to establish contacts with nearest fire stations in their vicinities, as well as officers in charge of those units, to get easy access to them in times of emergency.