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General News of Saturday, 2 September 2017

Source: Ghana Crusader

Ghana needs 24,493 firemen to meet international standard – Julius Kunnuor

A total of 303 new personnel of Ghana National Fire Service has been recruited into the service to augment its staff strength.

The recruits went through eight months of physical and theoretical training in various disciplines.

At a passing-out ceremony to induct the personnel into the service, a Deputy Chief.

Fire Officer, Mr Julius Kunnuor, who is also the Director Finance and Administration, commended the recruits for demonstrating physical capabilities and talents throughout what, he said, was an intense and competitive recruitment process.

According to him, the government took the decision to enlist new personnel into the service in view of the stress under which the service operated due to inadequate number of staff.

He indicated that the situation had come about as a result of the high attrition rate among staff members and the number of those who had retired.

He said the current staff strength of the service stood at 6,757 which translated into a ratio of one service officer for every 3,995 people.

“This ratio is far above the international standard of one fire officer to 800 people.

Mr Kunnuor said for Ghana to meet the international standard, the service needed to recruit about 24,493 additional personnel.

Furthermore, he said, in order to have an equitable distribution of fire stations in all the 216 districts in the country, 66 more stations would have to be opened to add up to the 150 already in existence.

“When that was done, it would help boost investor confidence in the government’s one-district, one-factory policy since the service would have provided fire cover for every district of the country,” he added.

In spite of the challenges the service was confronted with, Mr Kunnuor said, it was committed to transforming itself into a more robust, accountable, efficient and professional body.

He mentioned successes achieved by the GNFS in recent time as improvement in the service’s response time to fire outbreaks from 20 minutes to five, which, he said, had ended the unfortunate situation when fire engines were vandalised and personnel attacked.

In addition, Mr Kunnuor said 38 new fire stations had been built and commissioned, thus increasing the number of districts in the country with fire cover.

“Between January and August this year, 2,967 fire outbreaks were recorded and that was an indication of a significant reduction in fires, as compared to the same period in 2016”, he lauded.

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