Specialised training for firefighters as new fire station opens at Eccles
In Guyana, only general firefighting training is offered, but that is expected to change now that Barbados has agreed to the use of its Specialised Training Facility.
Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn believes that with specialised training, there will be a reduction in losses due to fire and other emergencies.
With this new agreement with Barbados, it is expected that firefighters from Guyana will undergo training in that country. The agreement stemmed from recent discussions with the Minister of Home Affairs for Barbados, Wilfred Abrahams.
“They have a much-improved facility which he [Minister Wilfred Abrahams) said was unused or underused rather and he invited us to participate and to help use it more.
“They may be certain specialised training that facility in Barbados which we can make use of in terms of training,” Minister Benn disclosed while speaking at the official commissioning ceremony of the new Eccles Fire Station.
The Fire Station took six months to be completed at a cost $37.8 million.
It has four living quarters, several washroom facilities, a control room, a kitchen, three office spaces, a lounge and a garage bay. Firefighters stationed there will operate 24/7.
Minister Benn lauded the development of the new fire station and said it shows the government’s commitment to extending fire service to all parts of the country.
But with more infrastructure and equipment, there are challenges in terms of access to get to fires. This was seen recently with the deadly Barnwell, Mocha, East Bank Demerara fire where three children perished.
The children, aged eight, six and one, were trapped inside the blaze and a poor access road delayed the firefighters’ response.
Meanwhile, it was also revealed that an ambulance, along with emergency medical technicians (EMTs), will soon be placed at the Eccles Fire Station.
“We have to be ready, responsible, capable and engaged, always and if we are not, I invite any firefighter or EMT to resign,” Minister Benn stated.
Fire Chief (ag) Gregory Wickham said Eccles was identified as the ideal location for a fire station because of the number of businesses and the ongoing development of the area. This fire station will serve communities along the East and West Banks of Demerara.
“The fire tender and ranks of this station will be offering coverage to the north of Agricola, south of Providence, and the western direction of the Demerara River and any other activities that warrant the support on the West of Demerara, we would be offering that coverage,” Wickham related.
He said residents can expect professional service from firefighters.
“When it is possible when the need arises feel free to call the Guyana Fire Service.”