Fire Service to boost capacity, community involvement in 2024 – Min. Benn

Recognising the significant increase in fires last year, the capacity of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) will further be expanded through the acquisition of mobile units and expansion of volunteer groups in 2024, among other initiatives.

Speaking to reporters at his Brickdam Office in Georgetown on Wednesday, Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn disclosed that training for volunteer fire brigades has already been completed in Lethem, Mahdia, and Mabaruma.

Fire fighters demonstrating the usage of a skylift

“In the new budget we are looking at bringing in units and expanding the volunteer fire service,” the minister emphasised during his ministry’s year-end review.

While the assets of the fire service will increase, Minister Benn emphasised the need for citizens to play their part in quelling the increase in fires.

The 2024 budget includes the exemption of value-added tax (VAT) on fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, aimed at enhancing fire prevention and suppression efforts nationwide.

Fire fighters during a recent demonstration exercise

Meanwhile, New fire stations are expected to be constructed at Parika and Vreed-en-Hoop in Region Three, and another location close to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).

Minister Benn also clarified that fire trucks do not always arrive without water, as water bowsers can carry a limited amount of water which is depleted on-scene.

“There’s a limited amount of water which they can carry in the trucks – 300/400 gallons at a time. Those will go pretty quickly,” the home affairs minister highlighted.

Fire fighters during a recent demonstration exercise

The fire service is also rolling out educational programmes aimed at enhancing fire safety in the communities and individual homes.

GFS has already benefitted from several infrastructural upgrades including the completion of a brand-new Fire Service Headquarters on Homestretch Avenue and fire stations at Ogle and Wales, among other areas.

Modern pieces of firefighting equipment were also acquired, including a skylift, an aerodrome, and a firefighting boat.