The movement of the dry winds from across the Sahara Desert, signaling the commencement of the harmattan season, is a wakeup call for embracing acceptable safety practices in our homes and other places where combustible materials abound.
This is a season when objects of various sorts become very dry and so easily combustible with the least contact with fire.
The statistics of fire around this time every year is high – a reason we should be careful lest we spark avoidable fires and cause harm and even fatalities.
The experiences of the past few months when we especially encountered fatalistic gas explosions should serve as critical lessons for us to be mindful about how we handle fires.
The emotions associated with the explosions might have subsided somewhat, not so however, the damage and lives lost.
We acknowledge efforts the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) are making to educate consumers on the place of safety when using LPG and other inflammable stuff. Sustaining this education would go a long way in creating the needed awareness in handling domestic gas stoves to avoid fires.
Taking things for granted should be avoided in our relationships with the environment. We have treaded on this tangent for far too long, the fallouts too glaring to be ignored. The lives which have been lost through such fires and even infernos are many. They have caused anguish in homes because breadwinners have been killed and properties destroyed beyond recovery.
The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) should in our opinion, join hands with the various municipal and district assemblies and even NPA in educating the people about fires, how they are started and response mechanisms. That is the way to go.
Education is very important in matters of safety. Schools at all levels should benefit from the education, including market places. With the rising statistics of LPG use in the country, especially in the rural areas, the importance of education cannot be overemphasized.
Those who benefit from such education will hardly keep LPG cylinders in their rooms. Losing cylinders to thieves by keeping them outside is still a better option than keeping them in rooms and causing possible fires.
Although it would be difficult to tell which day a season starts, we can state that we are barely a week into the harmattan season. That is the reason we have devoted this commentary to this subject – the role of safety being too critical.
Intermittent radio advertisements should be undertaken and sustained as supplements to the education programme we are advocating. The far-reaching stature of radio in the country makes it an effective medium in such matters of awareness creation and education.
Although we do not have to be told about how dangerous recklessness can be when handling fires, we can vouch that many do not just care in their relationship with combustible stuff.
Don’t start fires; the harmattan is here.