In the pre-colonial era, before the existence of Fire Service, fires were controlled by Traditional rulers, using the Asafo Companies (Traditional Soldiers) to fight all kinds of fires in their communities and localities. It was not until 1955 before the colonial government found the need to reorganize the various Asafo Companies into vibrant groups to tackle both domestic and bushfires as there were only a few industries. With the restructuring of the political administration of the Gold Coast into Local Government concept, a lot of the members of the Asafo Companies opted to become employees of the Local Government Institutions in the Country. In time the responsibility of firefighting became a duty of the Police Force. As Towns developed into Municipalities, Municipal Councils, as well as some Government agencies with fire hazards formed their own fire Brigades.
The idea of a National Fire Service was conceived in 1955 when the colonial Government invited Mr. S. M. Charters (ORE) of her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Fire Service into the country and to among other things, advise on the organization and establishment of Fire Service in Municipalities and in certain urban towns.
In 1962, the Government of Ghana employed the services of a Fire Advisory Expert, Mr. G. S. Leader, under the United Kingdom-Ghana Technical Assistance Programme to help formulate a policy on the formation of a National Fire Service which had long been contemplated. In 1963 by an Act of Parliament (Fire Service Act 1963; Act 219) the Ghana National Fire Service was born from the then fragmented Railways, Ports and Harbours, Accra City, Kumasi City, and the Sekondi/Takoradi Municipal Fire Brigades. These brigades had hitherto existed as separate entities under Government Departments or Municipal Councils.
The primary aim of the Ghana National Fire Service at its established in 1963 by Act 219 was firefighting and extinguishment, and to render humanitarian services. Subsequently, in 1997 the Ghana National Fire Service Act (Act 537) was enacted to re-establish the Ghana National Fire Service with the objective of prevention and management of undesired fires and other related matters. The purpose of Act 537 was to expand the functions of the GNFS taking into cognisance modern trends in the Fire Services all over the world; from fire intervention to fire prevention and safety from fire and other emergencies, thereby protecting the people, industry, crops and the vegetation.
To prevent and manage undesired fires, thereby reducing loss of lives and property by enforcement of fire safety measures in national strategic installations and responding promptly to fire disasters.
The Ghana National Fire Service is committed to providing an efficient and valued fire and rescue service to meet statutory requirement in Act 537 and public expectation. This will be achieved through appropriate resourcing in terms of equipment, appliances, and premises and by effectively training personnel.
We are confident that we can maintain and improve public safety from fire and other emergencies, thereby protecting the people, industry, crops and vegetation.