The government has given clearance for the recruitment of 1,000 personnel into the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) this year to augment its staff strength. The Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, who announced this Friday, said the move was to ensure that the service had the required human resource to maintain fire safety at all levels.
“This will improve the firemen to citizen ratio of one is to 4,303 (1:4303) which is currently unacceptable per the United Nations standard of 1:800,” he said.
He was speaking at the passing out parade of Recruit Course 48 at the Fire Academy and Training School (FATS) in Accra.
The graduation parade saw 398 recruits, comprising 299 males and 99 females who were taken through drills, equipment handling, practical attachment and other nuances of firefighting, pass out.
The graduation of the recruits brings the number of personnel of the GNFS to 7,900.
Mr Dery announced that the government had approved the procurement of two hydraulic platforms that would help the GNFS to access high rise buildings extending beyond 15 floors.
“The government is aware of the challenges confronting the GNFS and is determined to retool the service with the aim of transforming it into an institution capable of delivering world-class fire and rescue service.
“We are in talks with the service regarding the supply of other essential equipment and resources for a smooth operation,” he said.
Mr Dery gave an assurance that the government was also committed to equipping the GNFS with modern fire-fighting equipment that would make it render service that could be compared to that of their counterparts in developed countries.
Touching on the welfare of personnel, Mr Dery said the government would continue to pay rent allowances to personnel of the service to cater for their accommodation needs.
He added that the Ministry of the Interior was collaborating with the GNFS Council to explore ways by which the service could increase its internally generated funds (IGF) and retain part of it.
Mr Dery urged the personnel of the GNFS to be diligent and committed to duty since it was through discipline that they could deliver on their mandate to the public.
He asked the service personnel to deepen their engagement with the public and educate people to understand the way they operated.
“We do not want to continue to have situations where members of the public will keep saying that personnel of the service get to the scene of fire outbreaks without water, so work to earn the confidence of the people,” he said.
He also urged the newly recruited personnel to be disciplined and adhere to the professional standards of the service in the discharge of their duties.