Social Protection Ministry begins fire safety training with senior citizen homes

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Ministry of Social Protection in collaboration with the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) today conducted a Fire Safety training with staff and residents of the Millicent Greaves Seniors’ residence. The training was held on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at the residence in Durban street under the theme “Let’s Retire Fire.”

Deputy Director for Social Services at the Ministry Mrs. Abike Benjamin-Samuels explained that the Fire Safety Training is part of the ministry’s capacity building programmes aimed at improving the well-being of senior citizens. She added that it is designed to teach elderly residents and staff preventive measures that will eliminate or minimize causes of fire or fire hazards in the home, and to teach basic emergency and evacuation procedures in the event of a fire.

“The training has been developed to comply with minimum standards for elderly care facilities as stipulated in the Minimum Standards for Elderly Residential Facilities in Guyana. At the core of the program is the education and knowledge which we believe is the key to save lives,” Mrs. Benjamin-Samuels underlined.

The Deputy Social Services Director stressed the importance of elderly residential facilities taking appropriate measures to reduce fire hazards around their facilities in order to protect themselves and their residents.

She noted that there should be working fire alarms throughout the facility and regularly run audits to ensure that the devices are not out of batteries or otherwise unable to properly function. Fire extinguishers should also be present, and facility staff should be trained on how to use them properly.

The training was facilitated by Fire Prevention Inspectors at GFS Kerron Moore and Troy Williamson.

During his discussion Moore talked about the Three Es during fire prevention which are Engineering, Education and Enforcement. He pointed out that Engineering is the first step taken in fire prevention. During this stage plans are underway for construction and therefore, an emergency plan must be considered.

Meanwhile, Williamson highlighted that usually the black water tanks consist of 450 gallons of water which pumps 250 gallons per minute. This he noted is exhausted within one and a half minute there the Fire Officer would source other sources of water, providing that more is needed to out the fire.

“Once they assess the situation and find that the water is not enough they look for an open source which can be a fire hydrant or pillar hydrant, canals and trenches, and they would use that to have continuous flow of water,” Williamson explained.

Administrator, Millicent Greaves Senior Citizens Home, Evadnie Rockcliffe expressed her gratitude for the training and noted that she is looking forward for similar initiatives in the future.

Similar trainings are expected to be conducted at other elderly residential facilities.

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