Fire Service being retooled with modern firefighting equipment – Min Benn

The Government of Guyana has concluded discussions with the United Kingdom (UK) and Angloco Limited – the UK’s oldest manufacturer of fire engines, to assist in the modernisation and revamping of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS).

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn made the disclosure, as he addressed scores of senior firefighters at the Senior Officers’ Conference 2024 on Thursday, at the Guyana Police Force Annex, Eve Leary in Georgetown.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn delivering the charge to fire officers

Minister Benn emphasised the pressing need to strengthen the capabilities of the fire service, which has prompted President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali and himself to take action, through this arrangement.

“We’re out of discussions with the UK and Angloco; we are being retooled with a number of firetrucks and other assets to bring the Guyana Fire Service into a better position to respond to the issues of fire in a more expert and in a more experienced way,” he disclosed in his address.

Moreover, the government is in discussions with its Brazilian counterparts to conduct a preliminary assessment regarding wildfires in various parts of the country.

He expounded, “I think there’s the question of examining them supporting us during particular times…In relation to having a continuous assessment of the state in relation to fires in the agriculture areas and in the forest, which we have to protect.”

The minister acknowledged the multifaceted challenges which are affecting the fire service, including the expansion of the country through new developments and the casual-approach of citizens and businesses when it comes to fire safety.

Nonetheless, he expressed his gratitude for the work that the fire service has done, even during challenging circumstances, reemphasising the need for more room for improvement.

“Preparedness, readiness, energy, making sure that we make improvements everyday where we work and around each other are of great significance,” the minister underscored.

He also commended the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) for the work they are doing to provide medical support to those in emergencies.

Chief Fire Officer (ag) Gregory Wickham

Meanwhile, Chief Fire Officer, Gregory Wickham pointed out that the service embarked on a strategically crafted plan, one that will ensure the agency remains relevant to the ever-changing environment.

Numerous fire safety and prevention information campaign have been conducted in communities and municipalities across Guyana, all geared towards better equipping citizens with basic fire prevention measures and information.

This year’s conference is themed “Adapting to change, leading with innovation and resilience.”