Regional News of Tuesday, 15 March 2011
Accra, March 15, GNA - The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) recorded 220 electrical fire outbreaks out of a total of 2,708 in 2009.
Alhaji Fuseini Inusah, Deputy Minister of Energy made this known in a speech read on his behalf in Accra on Tuesday at a two-day fire safety workshop in Accra, to train fire protection service providers on best practices and ethics. It is being organised by Fire Protection Association of Ghana in collaboration with the Electrical and Electronics Division of the Ghana Institution of Engineers on the theme: 93Minimising Fire Outbreaks Through Ensuring Safe Electrical Installations Practice." Alhaji Inusah said electricity had become an integral part of the socio-economic development of the nation and was therefore imperative for the State to ensure that it serve its role purposefully. "Many avoidable electrical fires can be traced to the misuse of electrical cables and conductors, poor installation works and irregular maintenance," he said.
He advised the experts to educate users on the need to carry out electrical installation works according to approved specifications. He announced that the government through the Energy Commission, the Attorney General's Department and the Ghana Standards Board (GSB), was working on the implementation and enforcement of the Electrical Wiring Code to ensure compliance with the Electrical Wiring Regulations.
Alhaji Inusah said GSB had completed the standard for the Electrical Wiring Code, FDGS 1009, which applied to the distribution of electrical energy in and around houses, business premises, and public buildings, among other dwellings. "It is intended that with strict enforcement of the standard, safety against electrical fire outbreaks would to a very large extent be guaranteed," he said and advised against the use and importation of substandard materials for electrical installation works. He expressed the hope that the workshop would carry the needed motivation to the participants to utilise their potentials towards the achievement of safe electrical installation practice in Ghana. Mr Isaac K. Manu-Marfo, Divisional Manager in charge of Maintenance, Electricity Company of Ghana, stressed the need to interrogate the various factors that precipitate the numerous incidents of fire outbreaks and attempt to circumscribe possible solutions to prevention.
He mentioned arcing, gross overloads, excessive thermal insulation, stray currents and grounds faults, over-voltage and poor connections as some factors causing electrical fire outbreaks. He therefore urged the association to assist the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority to stem the flow of substandard electrical appliances, cables, gas cylinders and other causative agents of fire into the country to help minimise the incidence. Mrs Kate Quartey-Papafio, Chief Executive Officer of Reroy Cables Limited, said it was time for Ghana to focus the campaign against electrical fire outbreaks on unprofessional and untrained persons to protect lives and safe money.