Alert! ‘China doors’ found to cause deaths during domestic fires

Fire incidents have become a regular occurrence in the country, with many lives and properties lost every year.

Hardly a day passes without a fire outbreak in some parts of the country – and many of such cases go unreported.

This year alone, over 600 cases have been recorded nationwide as of Monday, January 23, the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has confirmed.

Among the types of outbreaks, however, domestic fires instead of bush fires is leading.

According to data from the Service, 59,933 fire outbreaks were recorded between 2013 and 2022.

Out of the figure, 23,394 were domestic fires, representing 39% more than other categories of fires.

People are increasingly guarding their homes against burglary with all kinds of security technologies.

Many home owners largely have only burglar proof in mind. But the burglar proof system is more or less like a double-edged sword – whereas it ensures security from robbery, it usually traps inhabitants during a fire outbreak, leading to their deaths.

“Under normal circumstances and within this period of the year, you find bush fires leading. Unfortunately, for this year, we still have domestic fires in the lead.

“The domestic fires are still a challenge that we need to tackle head-on,” the Director of Public Relations for the Ghana National Fire Service, ACFO Timothy Osafo-Affum, said.

He noted with worry how some Ghanaians do not seek safety advice before installing burglar proof in their homes.

Although there are fixed and collapsible types, he observed many home owners always opt for the fixed ones which leave them in helpless situations when there is fire.

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“People are also afraid of armed robbers whose activities are also a disturbing factor. Therefore, they barricade themselves by providing what we call the burglar proof. There is one that you can easily open and there is one that is also fixed – you cannot open. But because the fixed one is cheaper, we all go for the cheaper ones,” ACFO Osafo-Affum added.

The special purpose burglar-proof windows recommended for use

According to metal fabricators, many home owners insist on their choice of burglar proofs, even when such choices would not guarantee the safety they yearn for.

“As a layman, he may decide what he likes, that ‘I like this design or that design’. Sometimes you advise but they don’t take it and you can’t say because they’re not taking the advice, you will not work. So, you have to do what they want.”

For Jacob Ayi-Bonte, another worrying concern that must be critically looked at is the use of China doors.

“They use normal plates to mould those doors and then [all sides of the door has] a locking system – up, down and the sides. So when you tamper [with the door], it locks automatically and you can’t open it unless it is broken.

“By the time they’re done breaking it, the fire would have already caused the damage and harm,” Mr Ayi-Bonte said.

Fire detection systems

The Ghana National Fire Service will soon begin the implementation of a new regulation that will aid in the provision of early fire detection systems in every home.

This, according to ACFO Timothy Osafo-Affum, will help to reduce domestic fires across the country.

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“The law indicates that the Fire Service is supposed to provide these facilities to the individual homes. But you’d agree that even getting the fire appliances is difficult and therefore getting these equipment for every home across the country is also going to be very difficult.

“Therefore, we are in talks with the private sector to come on board to supply these equipment to every home [but] it is important for all of us to fix early detection systems in our homes. We have a simple one that we call the smoke detector.

“With the smoke detector, any time there is a slightest emission of smoke, this detection system will just pick it and give you an alarm,” Mr Osafo-Affum hinted.

As you strive to be security conscious at home, you must equally be concerned about your safety.

By Christian Yalley|TV3||Ghana


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