Fire prevention inspections target public, private occupancies – Minister Benn

Fire Prevention inspections are being conducted throughout the country by the Guyana Fire Service, targeting both public and private occupancies.

This was disclosed recently by Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, M.P, in response to questions in the National Assembly.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, MP

However, the minister said during these inspections, recommendations are penned to the occupants of the buildings to install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, and construct fire emergency plans and designate an appropriate area, away from the respective premises, upwind as assembly points.

He noted that standards were developed for establishing and enforcing as it relates to building construction in Guyana. Such standards for buildings are to ensure that buildings are safe and have means of escape and ample fire emergency systems in place.

The rationale is to have building practitioners, consultants and home owners keep within the framework of the mentioned regulations.

The home affairs minister was also asked if consideration has been given to establishing a mechanism to examine all aspects related to fire safety, review of existing systems inclusive of building codes, assessment of response mechanisms, and remedial actions, as well as a review of the available equipment and the human resource capacity.

In his written response, the minister noted that while Guyana does not have standardised building codes, a proposal was prepared and sent to the Office of the President last year for perusal and approval.

Minister Benn said, “The National Fire Advisory Board, which comprises nine appointed members, was given the responsibility to review and further implement standards and regulations to suit our local conditions. The board convened April last and has been active ever since.”

The Board comprises members of the Guyana Fire Service, National Bureau of Standards, Ministry of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Central Housing and Planning Authority, Ministry of Human Service and Social Security, Mayor and City Council, Guyana Water Inc, and the Environmental Protection Agency, among other agencies.

In relation to training, Minister Benn clarified that members of the Guyana Police Force, as part of their basic training, are trained to respond to emergencies, including those for the occurrence of fire.