Application of Geographic Information System in Emergency Service Delivery – A Case of Ghana National Fire Service

Cynthia Borkai Boye, Tijani Abubakar


The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) since its inception has been faced with several challenges in executing its firefighting duties. Some of the challenges include: lack of appropriate logistics to fight fires, inaccessibility to fire sites, inadequate training facilities and inability of GNFS to carry out fire risk assessment prior to operations. This has contributed to the GNFS having low emergency response time of 12½ minutes as against the international standard time of 4 minutes. This project therefore adopted GIS techniques that enable significant reduction in time for emergency service response and delivery by the GNFS. Data used for the project include georeferenced high-resolution satellite image, topographic map of the study area and fire outbreak statistics of Tarkwa. A suitability analysis was performed to select appropriate sites in the unplanned communities for mounting fire hydrants in open spaces. These selected open spaces together with the community centre feature were fed into a model builder in Arc GIS. Through the processes of buffering, reclassification of the input features and weighted overlay operations, the final outcome was obtained. The results show the fastest route to be used for emergency service delivery from the Tarkwa fire station. The study created scenarios to show the extent of service areas for different travel times of one, two, three and four minutes using travel speed of 50 km/h, 80 km/h and 100 km/h respectively. The results revealed that with a travel speed of 80 km/h, the entire study area could be reached to meet the international standard of 4 minutes response time. The project proposed an emergency service delivery plan for the GNFS. It recommends that this project be adopted by GNFS to minimize delays in the delivery of emergency services in the country. GIS techniques would also aid decision making, improve efficiency and response time of emergency delivery agencies.


Fire outbreak; emergency service delivery; unplanned communities; GIS; network analysis; Ghana Fire Service; Suitability Analysis; emergency service area

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