Ghana — Every year around this time, awareness is created about the dangers of bush fires.
Farmers, in particular, become the targets, being reminded of the dangers that indiscriminate burning could cause to their farms as well as those of their neighbours.
Unfortunately, even before the drumming home of the anti-bush fire messages would fill the airwaves, fires have started raging through some areas in the country. These fires are however unrelated to bush burning or bushfires.
They are fires occurring in homes, trapping people to death.
With the coming in of the harmattan, usually characterised by dry wind, which gives acceleration to combustion, it is our hope that at least following the few fires that have already occurred, we would all contribute to reducing or preventing the incidence of fire in our midst.
Fires, like any other accidents, don’t just happen; they are caused. Whereas the recently reported fires were attributed to various causes, there have been too many incidents of fire arising out of negligence, through illegal and unprofessional electrical connections and wirings.
Officials of Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) are often heard complaining about illegal connections and losses that the company incurs as a result of this thievery.
Unfortunately, at times it becomes difficult to take these complaints seriously because a lot of obviously illegal connections could be sighted all over the place, especially when one tours the city centres at night.
Unorthodox electricity connections are visible all over the pavements of streets, where trading activities take place at night.
In Accra, for instance, around lorry stations, including the Kwame Nkrumah Circle area, wires are seen dangling all over the place, powering lights, leaving one wondering if these traders who use them are identifiable customers of ECG or not.
Even if the ECG has been doing something about these illegal connections, it is important that it is put in the public domain and culprits exposed to serve as deterrence to others.
It is important also for members of the public to draw alert the relevant authorities of dangerous fire-provoking connections that come to their notice, so that the illegal acts of a few do not translate to tragedies affecting whole communities.
For now, all must be on the alert and guard against falling victims to fire, since it can be very dangerous, leaving in its trail only weeping and gnashing of teeth!