Govt stresses need for preparedness, effective leadership in firefighting

As first sub-officers conference opens

As the government continues to make substantial investments towards enhancing the capacities of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS), Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn stressed that alongside these efforts, a strong focus on preparedness and effective leadership is imperative to truly impact fire prevention and safety outcomes.

Minister Benn made these statements while delivering the feature remarks at the opening ceremony of the first Sub Officers’ Conference 2023, at the prospective Guyana GFS headquarters, Homestretch Avenue, on Thursday.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn delivering remarks at the opening of the first Annual Sub Officers Conference 2023

Themed “Improving Performance Through Education and Training,” the two-day sessions aim at enhancing service delivery through continuous dialogue with officers as well as public education on fire prevention and safety.

“We have to be ready to engage, we have to have the courage to engage, we have to be well protected … leaders in this room, if there are repeated failures in terms of preparedness, you may have a lot to answer for, you have to be prepared,” Minister Benn emphasised, as he charged the officers to enforce discipline.

A section of Station and Sub Officers attending the conference

He also stated that efforts are being made to procure fireboats, aerodromes, and other critical pieces of equipment to enhance the service’s capabilities.

Additionally, the government is ensuring that fire prevention mechanisms are being placed in dormitories across Guyana to prevent the recurrence of any fire tragedy.

Meanwhile, Chief Fire Officer (ag), Gregory Wickham charged the fire officers to make use of training and educational opportunities currently offered by the government.

Chief Fire Officer (Acting), Gregory Wickham

Continuous education, he noted, will expand their knowledge to be able to lead efficiently and bring the agency up to par with its counterparts.

“We have the GOAL scholarships with a whole host of courses that I know will be beneficial for you and by extension the department. So, get engaged, get yourself registered, get yourself more and more qualified so that you’ll be able to lead the department with distinction,” Wickham asserted.

He explained that the conference was conceptualised to bridge the gap between the senior management and junior management structure of the fire agency.