Fire Service boosted with four new fire tenders

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The Guyana Fire Service (GFS) has been boosted with the donation of four new fire tenders to its fleet by the Government of Guyana to the tune of $175 million.

With the donation, it is expected that there will also be improved performance in its response to fires and other disasters. The fire tenders were handed over to Fire Chief, Kalamadeen Edoo at the Annual Senior Officers’ Conference on Thursday held at the Guyana Police Force Training Center Auditorium, Camp Street, Georgetown.

The two-day conference is being held under the theme: “Understanding the challenges and working towards improving Fire and Rescue Services”- at the Guyana Police Force Officer’s Training Centre in Georgetown.

The conference will focus on identifying challenges and gaps in Fire Service and also look at ways of improving the service.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn hands over the keys to fire tenders to Fire Chief, Kalamadeen Edoo (Photo: News Room/March 25, 2021)

In the 2021 National Budget, the Fire Service was allotted a total of $1.9 billion. The Fire Chief said that one of the major projects will be the relocation of the Central Fire Station from the congested Stabroek Market, along with the establishment of new fire stations at Eccles, East Bank Demerara; Mahdia, Region Eight; Lethem, Region Nine and Mabaruma, Region One. These new stations are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“You can well appreciate the task that is ours and the importance of our response in order to minimise the loss of lives, property and personal effects as well as to ensure the citizens of Guyana are effectively rescued and quickly transported to a treatment centre,” the Fire Chief said.

Fire Chief Kalamadeen Edoo (Photo: News Room/March 25, 2021)

In pointing out the challenges faced, the Fire Chief revealed that these mainly exist at the administrative level within the human resources sector, as it relates to infrastructure and the provision of services.

To this end, a strategic holistic ten-point plan has been developed.

Among the plans are the modernisation and renovation of fire stations to provide an enabling environment for the firefighters.

Importantly, he noted that the implementation of the Fire Safety Building Code must be an integral part of the Fire Prevention Modernisation plan. The Fire Chief also called for increased inspection of buildings countrywide.

He further noted that the establishment of a legal department and a public relation department forms part of the strategic plan to improve the Fire Service.

Taking into consideration the welfare of the firefighters and other ranks, the Fire Chief also announced the establishment of an occupation, safety and health department. He noted that this is especially important during the pandemic.

Standing in the front row third from left: Mae Thomas, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs; Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn; Fire Chief, Kalamadeen Edoo and Deputy Fire Chief, Gregory Wickham along with other senior ranks of the Guyana Fire Service (Photo: News Room/March 25, 2021)

The expansion of the Fire Service’s Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) service is also part of the strategic plan as well as core training for staff regionally and internationally.

Meanwhile, Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, in his remarks, urged that the ranks and firefighters provide service with confidence. He also called on the public to desist from making prank calls.

Benn said more needs to be done to promote the use of fire extinguishers and fire alarms in homes and water sprinklers in commercial buildings. This, the minister explained, will help reduce losses.

The minister also touched on the need for the Fire Service to provide a welcoming environment, especially for women.

“We want them [women] on the job, every sphere of activity and I hope one day we will have a woman Fire Chief and that she would have come through a system which would have respected her and allowed her to break through,” the minister said.

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