The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has launched a campaign to assess buildings across the country to ensure fire safety requirements have been adhered to.

Addressing the media after inspection of some financial institutions, the GNFS Task Force said it would ensure compliance, since it cannot allow buildings, especially public buildings, to be engulfed by fires leading to loss of vital documents when such fires can be prevented.

“Fire safety, prevention and management is a shared responsibility and everybody needs to show concern in curbing the menace. If our negligence did not start the fire, GNFS will have no fires to extinguish,” he said.

According to CFO William Yawson, the exercise carried out on Tuesday July 18 was very necessary and it had been discovered that majority of the financial institutions visited did not have enough fire extinguishers and the few that had procured the equipment did not install them properly or did not have them well classified. Some of the firefighting equipment such as extinguishers had expired.

Mr Yawson further emphasised the need for the public to be fire safety-conscious to save lives and property.

“By law, all these institutions are supposed to acquire fire certificates, but their inspection revealed that majority of them were not complying. And another important thing realised was that there were no emergency exits found, neither did they display any emergency fire service numbers. Some had no fire alarms, sprinklers, smoke detectors installed,” he lamented.

Nonetheless, he said “the service has given those institutions a period of two weeks to do things right and announced that the service would also be having a series of simulations, for we must all have the duty to avert the occurrences of fire outbreaks in the country.”

Some of the institutions visited were Fidelity Bank, Société Générale Ghana, First Capital Bank, and Barclays Bank. Amongst these banks, Barclays was scored 80 per cent after inspection because it had fire-fighting equipment in place but failed to display the fire service emergency numbers on their walls.