Fires decreased by 22 percent in 2021 – Minister Benn
─ smoke detectors, fireballs distributed to households
Despite the number of malicious fires set in 2021, the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) has recorded a massive reduction in fires, Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, M.P, has said.
The minister said he was pleased with the efforts by the fire service, which he credits to ‘re-energised’ leadership.
“I want to recognise, in spite of all the distress and trauma we have had with some loss of life, we have had a 22 or so per cent reduction in total fires over the past year,” the minister stated, as he delivered the feature address at the opening of the GFS Senior Officers’ Conferenceon Thursday.
The minister said he recognises that more can be done to prevent fires from destroying property and taking lives.
“We have to develop and to mount a specific campaign to do the fire inspection of buildings, commercial buildings particularly so that they come up to some standards and that we encourage where we can, putting in the wet and dry riser systems if there is an absence of a fire hydrant in a rural area to mitigate against fire,” Minister Benn said.
He also called on the fire service to do more to prevent fires in homes by pushing for the installation of fire detectors and alarms.
“We lately had the discovery of the fireballs, but I want us to buy 3000 fireballs over the year and share them out to people in homes and in businesses so that there is some protection. So, fireballs and smoke detectors, we must give them out free.”
Fireballs are a revolutionary self-activating device designed to extinguish fires providing a much-needed additional line of defence for fighting fires.
Additionally, Minister Benn said government is intensifying the installation of fire hydrants across the country. Budget 2022 has allotted $100 million for the installation of fire hydrants to ensure there is adequate water supply in the event of a fire.
Since taking office, government has heavily invested in building the capacity of the GFS. Some of the investments include the acquisition of fire tenders and other firefighting equipment, along with training and establishment of fire stations in hinterland regions.