Fire Prevention Week 2016 – Message by the Hon. Khemraj Ramjattan, M.P., Vice-President and Minister of Public Security
Ministry of Public Security, Guyana, Monday, October 10, 2016
Sunday, 9th October, 2016, marks the beginning of National Fire Prevention Week and the 42nd occasion whereby this week will be observed in Guyana. The theme for this year’s observances is ‘Fire Safety, A Collective Responsibility for the Preservation of Life and Property’ a theme that aptly speaks to the heart of what is required from all of us as Guyanese if we are to win the war on unwanted disastrous fires. We must take a stand both individually as well as collectively since fires have a devastating effect on the nation as a whole. Every fire loss brings with it, economic, psychological, emotional as well as social trauma, not only for the victims but also for the country as a whole.
This week the Guyana Fire Service will be conducting a number of activities countrywide to highlight this observance. Quite a large number of varying types of fires have left a considerable toll on our society, in terms of lives lost, properties destroyed and damaged, and many of our citizens being rendered homeless and jobless.
One cannot underestimate the economic, social and even emotional impact that would have occurred as a result of this destructive element.
Undoubtedly, the consequences of fires have contributed negatively to the Nation’s economic and social well-being.
The theme this year, seeks to remind us, that there must be a conscientious effort by all, to do what is necessary, to avert in every way possible the outbreaks of fire in our surroundings.
The Guyana Fire Service is making every possible effort to ensure that all Guyanese are made aware of what can be done to avoid destructive fires.
It requires, for example, that house-holders ensure that all precautions are taken in their homes; that the business community must invest in smoke-detection and fire extinguishing equipment, as well as ensure they are abiding with all the safety regulations re storage of goods etc; that Government agencies implement all safety and fire prevention regulations; that the entertainment sector ensures that entrances and exits are unencumbered for their guests and provide fire detection and extinguishing equipment.
Citizens should also desist from:
- Stealing or tampering with electricity, find there is a likelihood that a fire can occur.
- Leaving young children alone at home with access to items such as matches, lighters etc.
- Leaving cooking activities unattended and the list goes on.
Large corporate and industrial entities should ensure that a fire safety professional is appointed to do regular checks and provide daily monitoring and evaluation of New Fire Precautious on site.
An expanded public campaign has been launched with the aim of reaching more persons in the country through the different Media. It is projected that these programmes will bear fruit and the expected results will be seen by all.
For this year to date 75 buildings have been destroyed by fire and 17were severely damaged.
Most of these fires involved dwelling houses, which resulted in the loss of 24 lives while a number of persons were left homeless. Certainly, these fires have left scars on the lives and the minds of persons affected and by extension their families and communities.
This year the Government of Guyana will invest thirty million dollars ($30,000,000.00) to begin the first phase of two (2) New Fire Stations at Melianie Damishana on the East Coast of Demerara and Lethem in Region # 9.
Additionally, eighty three million dollars ($83,000,000.00) will be spent acquiring more fire fighting tenders and water bowsers
The Ministry of Public Security is partnering with the Ministry of Public Health to expand the Emergency Medical Services utilizing a larger fleet of Ambulances and personnel to cover the length of Guyana with the First Phase becoming operational in November .
The Auxiliary Arm of the Guyana Fire Service will be activated to give support to the Regular Fire Service when necessary
The theme for the Fire Prevention Week 2016 ‘Fire Safety, A Collective Responsibility for the Preservation of Life and Property’ is indicative of a need for all of us as citizens to take cognizance of our roles and responsibilities regarding fire safety. This should not be seen as the responsibility of the Guyana Fire Service alone but for all of us.
I would now wish to declare “Fire Prevention Week 2016” open and I express the sincere hope that you would diligently adhere to all (fire safety practices).