Traders at the Makola market in Accra have covered fire hydrants installed in the market and its environs with their wares, making it difficult for Fire Service officers to have easy access during fire outbreaks.
Others have been buried with sand and have rusted, while others are covered by water due to leakage although they can function.
This was discovered when a team of Fire Service Officers in Accra went on an inspection to determine their working conditions and their readiness to respond to fire outbreaks.
Led by Mr James Owusu-Agyei, Divisional Officer One, Mr Benjamin Abbey, Divisional Officer Two, of the Metropolitan Fire Office and other officers from the head and regional offices, inspected other areas around Tudu, Agbogbloshie and Okaishie in Accra.
The officers had to ask the traders to pack their wares off the fire hydrants to enable them carry out the inspection.
Efforts to open some of the hydrants failed, because of the level at which they had rusted.
Mr Owusu-Agyei said the hydrants, though some were functioning, had low water pressure and so during fire outbreaks they had problem of getting enough water to quench the fire.
He said the hydrants had been installed by the Ghana Water Company which had the added responsibility of seeing to their maintenance and replacement.
He said the situation with the hydrants was a wake-up call for the stakeholders to rise up to their responsibilities.
Mr Owusu-Agyei complained that the traders had always been informed that when they occupied the places where the hydrants were located during fire outbreaks, the fire officers would find it difficult to immediately take action, because the officers would have to wait for them to first remove their items.
He said the traders always responded positively in their presence, but after the fire officers had left the scene, they put their wares back on the hydrants.
He said a task force made up of stakeholders, the Ghana Water Company, Accra City Authorities and the Fire Service went on routine checks.
Mr Abbey said there was the need to revisit the timetable of routine checks so that they would get to know the good hydrants and the ones not functioning and which ones needed to be replaced.
He also complained that the hydrants had been installed 30 years ago at the time the resident population was not huge, as compared to the present times, adding that the pipelines used to connect the water were just four inches, which should be replaced with big ones to allow a smooth and fast flow of the water in order to have better water pressure for their operations.
He said he was not aware of any replacement of the 30 year old pipelines, adding it was the work of the task force that did the routine checks to make recommendations for their replacement.