22% decrease in fires; emergency services to be taken countrywide
The Guyana Fire Service is reporting a 22 per cent decrease in fires within the past year and according to the Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn, this is a result of ‘re-energised’ leadership.
Plans are now underway for each community across Guyana to benefit from fire and emergency response services.
“I want to recognise [that] in spite of all the distress and trauma we have had with some loss of life, we have had a 22 or so per cent reduction in total fires over the past year.
“We are fairly happy with the service over the past year; we have noted a re-energising of the Guyana Fire Service with the new leadership,” Benn said while addressing the Fire Service Annual Senior Officers Conference.
The conference is being held at Police Officers’ Training Centre, Eve Leary, Georgetown under the theme: ‘Strengthening our capabilities through training and the use of technology for a safer Guyana.’
EXPANSION OF FIRE SERVICE
The Guyana Fire Service will be expanding its services to rural and indigenous communities. Recently, auxiliary and volunteer firefighters were trained in Leguan and Wakenaam Islands in Region Three.
“The expansion of the service is a recognition that the homes of the people in the rural areas and indigenous communities and those places that their homes burn too,” Minister Benn contended.
He explained that the inability to respond to fires in these communities can result in the loss of life and homes.
The government has been investing heavily in new equipment and is also looking to incorporate new technologies to fight fires.
Minister Benn also called for better cooperation between homeowners, businesses and the fire service in terms of fire prevention.
Already, 151 fire hydrants were serviced and replaced in Georgetown and 150 are currently being procured and will be distributed in Regions 2, 3, 5, 6 and 10.
Minister Benn also noted that some 3,000 fire extinguishing balls – a new and innovative concept in firefighting – will be distributed to households and businesses.
“Fireballs and smoke detectors, we must give them out free,” the minister said.
The inspection and certification of buildings are also important in the prevention of fires.
Meanwhile, Fire Chief (ag) Gregory Wickham spoke about the achievements within the past year. Importantly, a Health and Safety Committee was established; this committee ensures that the officers comply with health and safety practices.
Wickham revealed that the Fire Service is not just about firefighting but is also involved in emergency and rescue response.
“The Guyana Fire Service continues to lead in the way of providing rescue and safety services to the people of this nation; no less than 3,000 plus persons were aided by our so efficient ambulance that we offer,” Wickham said.
Additionally, 24 babies were also delivered through the Fire Service’s Emergency Response Service (EMS).
Two EMS units were also established at Diamond, East Bank Demerara and Melanie, East Coast Demerara.
Wickham said fire officers were also trained with local and international agencies to improve their firefighting capabilities.