$28.7M Onverwagt Fire Station commissioned

Emergency Medical Services extended to Region Five  

A $28.7 million fire station was on Monday commissioned at Onverwagt, Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five) and the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) extended to the region.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, Chief Fire Officer, Gregory Wickham and other representatives including Director of the National Emergency Medical Services, Dr Zulfikar Bux were in attendance.

Hon. Robeson Benn, Minister of Home Affairs

Region Five is the first region where the EMS has extended its services and it will provide medical care to patients while transporting them to a medical institution. The fire station is expected to boost the operations of the Guyana Fire Service in the region.

Minister Benn said the extension of the services is significant, since the country is on a developmental trajectory.  By the end of 2022 or early next year, the EMS will be extended to Region Three (Essequibo Islands- West Demerara).

Ribbon cutting for the Onverwagt Fire Station in Region Five

“Ultimately, we would like to see this type of footprint where you have fire service, Emergency Medical response teams and also lifesaving industrial type response teams in the country, all over the country, because we have to pay attention to the new challenges we have in our development,” Minister Benn stated.

This is also important, given the number of reported road accidents, the home affairs minister pointed out.  

“Particularly here and now, we note that in response to the questions of road traffic accidents, we lose the largest singular cohort of persons in the form of young people…. and so these arrangements that we are putting in place are critically important and so the Ministry of Home Affairs is fully behind this effort.”

The interior of the ambulance

Minister Benn also stressed the need for continuous training noting that, “We have to recognise that a great deal of personal discipline and effort is required in respect of this undertaking and we have to recognise that at this level and in relation to these activities, the underlining principle has to come out of respect and empathy for those who are injured, for those who are at risk, for what we intend to do professionally to support and to do the jobs which are required.”

The Chief Fire Officer implored residents of Region Five to make use of the services that are available to them. Persons can access these services by dialing 912.

“If we don’t know the number, we’ll not be able to save the life, if we don’t know the number, we’ll not be able to stop the fire whenever those circumstances arise. And so, I want to implore upon us that we pay keen attention to this, remember the number, call anytime when there is an emergency…. you’re not to use the number for any other reason,” he urged.

Dr Zulfikar Bux, Director of the National Emergency Medical Services

Meanwhile, Dr Bux explained that the EMS programme will be implemented in keeping with international standards.

“This is the first time in the history of Guyana that such a service will be available to members of the public outside of Region Four, so basically, this is the first time and Region Five should be happy…. you were chosen to be given the opportunity to have exposure to such a professional and efficient and effective medical response from members of the public, ”Dr Bux posited.

Vickchand Ramphal, Chairman of Region Five RDC

Chairman of Region Five, Vickchand Ramphal noted that residents can now feel much safer and protected with the additional services that have been extended to the region.

“I am very happy to have this programme launched in our region. I want to encourage all the residents of Region Five to make full use of this service. It’s a new service, many people might not know about it but I am sure that there will be some form of public awareness that will tell our people more of how we can access this service and the benefits.”