Berbicians warned of frequent ‘fake calls’ to Fire Service

─ received 60 fake calls in 2018

─ residents caught in the act can be fined and placed in jail for up to two years – Fire Service Act Chapter 22:02.

─ ‘B’ Division has received a 78.85% increase in calls for 2018 compared to 2017 

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, January 10, 2019

Berbicians are being asked to desist from making ‘fake calls’ to the Guyana Fire Service. This call was made by Deputy Officer in charge of the Guyana Fire Service, Berbice Division, Clive McDonald, after disclosing that there were 60 false fire calls in 2018.

McDonald, in an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), earlier today, disclosed that the Divisional Head Office recorded a total of 517 calls in 2018, a 78.85 per cent increase compared to 2017.

According to Mc Donald, there were no false calls in 2017, but he noted that last year, most of the calls of such nature were received from residents of the Rose Hall to Corriverton areas, on the Corentyne Coast, Berbice.

The officer stressed that persons should quit such indiscriminate calling habits since according to the Guyana Fire Service act chapter 22:02:

“Any person who knowingly gives or causes to be given a false alarm of fire to the Service or any unit or member thereof, shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of one hundred thousand dollars or to imprisonment for six months, and in the case of a second or subsequent conviction to a fine of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment of two years.”

Additionally, during the discourse with the DPI, McDonald highlighted that in 2017, Berbice witnessed 46 buildings going up in flames, of these; 31 were completely destroyed and 7 slightly damaged. The fires had left 61 persons homeless and 2 individuals dead.

He further pointed out that last year 56 buildings caught fire. Thirty-two buildings, he noted, were burnt to ashes. In the same year, two properties were severely ruined by fire, while 22 others were slightly burnt. Unfortunately, there were two deaths, resulting from the blaze and 94 residents were left homeless.

Fire also destroyed 6 motor vehicles and one motor vessel in 2018.

Meanwhile, the senior officer said fires experienced in previous years were caused mainly by either electricity, children playing with matches or a deliberate act. He also cautioned about the risks of carelessly lighting rubbish and grass.

“I’m appealing to persons to stand and supervise these grasses and rubbish fires. We attended to 296 fires of this nature last year,” he reiterated.

Importance of fire safety

According to McDonald, ‘B’ Division has conducted several outreaches throughout the region, which targeted businesses, churches and schools. The participants benefited from lectures on fire safety and prevention, both theoretically and practically.  However, he stressed that their sensitization efforts were poorly attended.

McDonald said that being exposed to those lessons, persons will be able to act quickly. “We need to make fire safety our business. We need to be interested. By this, we would know how to prevent a fire from destroying much. In some cases, it can be kept under control, at least until the GFS arrives”. He added that “at the programmes we hosted, we expected to see a lot of business owners or at least a representative, but we didn’t have much turn out. They should participate to receive knowledge.”

In the end, the station officer assured residents that this year, the GFS will continue to provide an A-grade Service to the Guyanese citizens and urged them to be vigilant when dealing with fire.

To date, Guyana Fire Service ‘B’ Division has listed a total of 10 calls to report fires, none of which was major.

Story and Images: Kellon Rover.

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