CHRISTMAS MESSAGE: Safety is everyone’s concern
IT IS WITH GREAT pleasure that I address you, the public of Barbados, and all persons visiting our island during this holiday period.
We at the Barbados Fire Service preach prevention year after year, and this year will be no different. There’s an old saying, but with a slight twist that says “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
This holiday season, we are urging everyone to simply use that one ounce of prevention as they go about their holiday shopping, do their cooking and participate in the merriment of the season.
To date, the department has responded to over 2 000 incidents, and of those incidents 1 737 have been fires. This is a reduction, however, [when compared] to the corresponding period for 2015, where we responded to approximately 2 200 incidents and close to 1 900 fires.
The key areas of concern – residential and commercial building fires – have all thankfully shown reductions, and we would like to end the year on a positive note and have our residential fires and commercial building fires remain as they are.
We have responded to 75 residential fires and 12 commercial building fires; as compared to 77 residential fires, and 20 commercial building fires for the same period in 2015.
I want to urge persons to desist from the indiscriminate burning of rubbish and vacant lots. I am well aware that during this holiday period persons like to clean their surroundings, but please be warned that with the recent high winds, this practice is dangerous. We have had at least two homes completely destroyed, and two others extensively damaged due to persons burning rubbish or grass, which subsequently got out of control.
If you are tired, you are also advised not to start any cooking as the probability of you drifting off to sleep and leaving the stove unattended is great. Persons with Christmas trees are also cautioned not to place any lit candles on or near these trees.
Fire prevention, although being one of our main mandates, is not our only concern. The department has responded to 70 motor vehicle accidents for the year. We have, however, [seen] a reduction in this category of incident as we responded to 89 for the same period and 94 accidents overall in 2015.
In my traversing, I have come across several accidents already on our roads for the holiday season, and I am pleading with persons to reduce your speed; do not take unnecessary chances with your life and other person’s lives as well. We all want to see our loved ones in 2017 and beyond.
I want to remind everyone that safety is not the business of the Fire Service alone, but of all citizens. If we each do our part, then we can make our homes, our workplaces and, by extension, our country a safe place to be.
I would like to wish all persons a happy and safe holiday season on behalf of the entire Barbados Fire Service and we look forward to serving you in the coming year.