The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has called for the consideration of its personnel in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations.
The Acting Chief Fire Officer, Mr Julius Kunnour, who made the call, said the service had earned an envious reputation through skills training and international exposure and was ready to play a bigger role in United Nations Peace Operations.
“Personnel of Ghana National Fire Service are of the view that given the opportunity, Ghanaian Fire Officers could perform excellently in United Nations Operations,” he said
The Acting Chief Fire Officer made the call in a meeting with the Ghana Ambassador to Malta, Ms Barbara Akuokor Benisa at the Headquarters of the Service in Accra.
He said the call, if accepted, could bring enormous benefits to Ghana and the personnel of the service.
For a start, he said, a fraction of the current slots given to the other sister security services for UN operations could be allocated to GNFS to enable it to strengthen its human capacity.
“In general, the role of firefighters in peace operations is long belated, this is a wakeup call and an opportunity for Ghana National Fire Service personnel to contribute its quota to Global Peace and Development,” he added.
He said the GNFS had since its establishment in 1963 continued to provide valued services to the Ghanaian population and other international bodies and that they could be brought to bear to create a formidable Fire Department that could double as a reserve for the country’s frontline security forces.
This, he added, would help augment the fragile security apparatus in most war-ravaged or politically unstable countries, noting that it would allow the service to discharge its professional duties on the global stage.
Mr Kunnour further argued that the calibre of officers in the GNFS, if given the opportunity, could perform beyond expectation.
For her part, the Ghana Ambassador to Malta, Ms Barbara Akuokor Benisa, assured the Service of her support and promised to strengthen the bilateral cooperation programme.
She pledged to work closely with the Maltese Ambassador to Ghana, Jean Claude Malia Galea and the Civil Protection Department (CPD) to train officers in various capabilities such as forensics, fire investigation and report writing, incident command system, operational firefighting and others.
She said the Deputy Fire Officer of Malta, Peter Paul Coliero, would visit the GNFS to help set up training facilities in all the Regional Commands to enable officers, who were trained in Malta to also facilitate train the trainer programmes for personnel within the commands.
Divisional Officer Grade III, Albert Aidoo of the Directorate of Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation, said the GNFS over the past decades had demonstrated through the delivery of its valued service, training and development of its human resource capacity, competence in fire engineering and rescue, equipment, tool and logistics.
This, he said, had earned the Service both local and international reputations as a credible Ghanaian institution adequately ready to be deployed on UN peacekeeping missions anywhere in the world.