Friday, February 26, 2010

New Sports & Social Club Executive

The Barbados Fire Service Sports and Social Club held its Annual General Meeting and Election of Officers yesterday at Fire Service Headquarters, Probyn Street, Bridgetown. The new Executive Committee (2010 - 2012) is as follows: President Ryan Lovell, 1st Vice President Grantley Greene, 2nd Vice President Troy Gibbons, Secretary Samuel Carrington, Treasurer David Vaughan and Assistant Secretary Treasurer Emmerson White.

During the General Meeting the following persons were also elected: Cricket Captain Lonsdale Blake, Vice Captain Michael Dunner, and Team Manager Clarence Hinds. In football: Football Captain Troy Gibbons, Vice Captain Michael Dunner, and Team Manager Grantley Greene.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fire Accused Remanded

The man accused of destroying more than 60 acres of cane by fire will eventually face a judge and jury.

However, before that time, Wycliffe Eastmond (here in handcuffs) will spend the next 28 days on remand after he appeared in the District "B" Boarded Hall Magistrates' Court yesterday.

The 42-year-old, of Halton, St John, was not required to plead to destroying 13 acres of cane, belonging to Hannays Plantation, and another 63 acres of cane, belonging to the same plantation.

Magistrate Robert Simmons remanded the accused to HMP Dodds until March 22 when he will reappear in the District "B" Magistrates' Court. (HLE)


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fire Bugs

Lawlessness and deliberate burning have been given as reasons for the record-breaking number of grass and cane fires for the year. Up to Thursday, there were over 749 such fires: 646 grass fires and 103 cane fires.

Acting Chief Fire Officer Randolph Cox told the SUNDAY SUN yesterday that based on investigations and reports from his officers, there was reason to believe that some of the fires could have been the result of lawless behaviour by wayward youth.

". . . I don't want to put any blame on the youth in general for lighting these fires. However, there maybe some who are misguided and resort to such," Cox said.

The acting fire chief also spoke of occasions where firefighters had discovered "certain devices designed to ignite a particular area".

"Included is an implement that would cause a delay action; and hence persons can set these fires, go home and go to sleep before the effects of these fires are realised," he added.

The acting fire chief said while the theory was that these fires could be the result of spontaneous combustion, there was clear evidence this was not the case, especially when blazes occurred at night.

"In a pasture I cannot see anything preventing any heat that might accumulate from reaching the atmosphere. If it does occur, it would be very seldom," he noted.

Cox held suspicion about certain areas that were keeping the Fire Department busy: repeated spots particularly in the parish of St Philip.

Some spots identified were Foul Bay, Kirtons, Ram Goat Hill and an area near the St Martin's Anglican Rectory - and the bushy section of The Belle in St Michael.

He urged Barbadians not to burn their rubbish or attempt to burn areas to get rid of cow-itch.

"There is a proliferation of cow-itch and it is adversely affecting the members of the public. The Ministry of Health can be contacted for assistance in that area and the Sanitation Service Authority is willing and ready to assist persons to get rid of rubbish.

"I would like to appeal to the public to desist from burning, or from lighting anything which would cause flames to spread and [cause] destruction in the open atmosphere," Cox said.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Day & Night Of Brush Fires In The Belle

The Belle, St Michael was the theatre of operation for most of yesterday as firefighters continue to battle the relentless spate of brush fires sweeping Barbados. This battle continued into the early hours of Saturday morning, the flames were eventually extinguished around 12:30 a.m. (e-Report video by G Alleyne)

Barbados Ablaze

"FIRE, FIRE in yuh wire, wire'' - so sang Tobago's Calypso Rose, to enthusiastic response in the late 1960s. But today in Barbados, with fires seemingly here, there and everywhere in recent weeks, such a refrain would be nothing but a set of sour notes.

So sour that a senior fire officer is calling for the return of the fire patrol in Barbados. Station Officer Evans Morris of the Barbados Fire Service said this was necessary, given the high number of grass fires.

"I would like to see the police and Barbados Defence Force do fire patrols again to curb the numbers of fires we are having. "In the 70s and 80s the patrol was used mainly during the crop season to protect sugar cane [from would-be arsonists]," he said.

Morris added that in his 37 years in the service, this year was one of the worst he had seen in a long time as far as fires were concerned. He spoke to the SATURDAY SUN on Thursday at the scene of a fire, a house fire this time, in South District, St George.

"I didn't leave anything on the stove," a distressed Deann Moseley said, "and there was nothing to burn . . . If somebody is starting these fires, then they need to stop because they are playing with people's lives."

Even as Moseley cried and Morris spoke, three brush fires could be seen burning in the distance. Barbados was burning again!

At Ellerton, also in the same parish, another piece of Barbados - a 20-acre field - went up in smoke. Fire officers simply waited this one out, fearing that if they doused the fire and left, someone might reignite it. It was also a water-saving measure.

Residents said the fire started in a small area and a barebacked man was seen riding away on a bicycle. Someone, who is burning down Barbados?

During the past week, one of the most extensive grass fires affected a large area at Waterford Bottom. The determined efforts of firemen helped to stop it from destroying a nearby bee farm.

Rudolph Gibson, the beekeeper, was on edge since he had lost about 90 hives from his biggest bee farm in St Lawrence after it was affected by fire. "I already lost a lot of hives. One hive carries between 25 000 and 30 000 bees," said Gibson.

So Barbados continues to burn, as reports suggest that many of the fires are being deliberately set. Some among us are apparently blazing the wrong trail. And Station Officer Morris feels we can catch them or at least thwart them. (CA/ES)


Friday, February 19, 2010

Firefighters Retreat As Gun Fire Erupts

Yesterday was certainly an eventful day for firefighters. Apart from the relentless grass and cane fires, several fire officers had to make a hasty retreat as gun fire erupted at Storey Gap, Codrington Hill, St Michael around 15:30 hours.

Fire Officers were in attendance at a grass fire a short distance away when several gun shots caused the abrupt cancellation of firefighting operations in the area. As firefighters took safe refuge behind their vehicle one man lay dead under a galvanised shed a few metres from the fire tender.

Police were summoned and order was soon restored as members of the Royal Barbados Police Force arrived on the scene. Firefighting operations resumed later in the evening after the location was deemed secure.

Fire Burns Equipment At Pumping Station

Firefighters had their hands full again yesterday with grass fires at Waterford, St. Michael. A pumping station operated by the Barbados Water Authority became the latest casualty after it received extensive damage from a grass fire which destroyed the electrical equipment used to pump water. (e-Report by G Alleyne)

Fire Destroys House At South District

Another Barbadian family is without a home after it was destroyed by a fire at South District, St. George yesterday. Three fire tenders from Fire Service Headquarters under the command of Station Officer Evans Morris responded to the 11:52 a.m. call.

Firefighters arrived on the scene to find the stone and timber structure completely engulfed in flames. A motor vehicle parked in the garage of an adjoining house was also extensively damaged by the fire. Police and Fire Service officials are investigating the cause of the fire.

Fire Bug Strikes Again

The fire bug continues to stalk Barbados.

A family of five lost everything they owned after their home was extensively damaged by fire this afternoon.

Deann Moseley, 25, said she left home in South District, St George, to take a shower at her stepmother’s home in Mapp Hill, St George when she was told her father’s house was burning.

“As soon as I started to bathe my stepsister told me the house was on fire. I told her that couldn’t be true because I didn’t leave anything on the stove and there was nothing to burn but before we could even leave my stepmother’s house, my house was flat,” she said.

A tearful Moseley said neither her father, Michael, 60, nor her three children were home at the time. She said she was unsure whether the house was insured.

Station Officer Evans Morris said a nearby abandoned house was destroyed and a vehicle damaged by the blaze. He said three tenders and ten fire officers responded to the 12 p.m fire. Personnel from Barbados Light & Power and the Roving Response team also responded.

One tender had to be diverted to a grass fire in Ellerton, where fire officers were forced to allow a more than 20 acre field to burn out in fear of someone re-igniting the field should they extinguish the fire and leave. It was also a water saving measure.

Residents told the NATION that the fire started in a small area and a bare-backed man was seen riding away on a bicycle. There were also fires spotted today in Waterford Bottom and the Belle.

On Wednesday, fire fighters were also stretched as they responded to house fires in Wildey and New Orleans and a grass fire in Waterford Bottom, St Michael.

In Wildey, two fire tenders one from the Worthing fire department and one from the Probyn Street headquarters responded to the blaze which gutted what appeared to be a one bedroom dwelling.

A neighbouring complex which houses four businesses was also affected by the blaze. Stephen Rayside, owner of Ray’s Enterprise, the business which was most affected, said he was inside when he heard there was a fire next door.

“One of the guys who work with me said he saw fire coming through the window so I came and told him to call the fire service. I am estimating this damage to be about $5000,” said Rayside. (CA/MM)


More Fires

More than 250 acres of canes have been lost from this year's sugar harvest to fire.

Chairman Barbados Sugar Industries Limited, Dr. Atlee Brathwaite, says it will affect the amount of sugar produced for the international market. Barbados was hoping to produce 30 thousand tonnes of sugar.

The sugar cane harvest period is normally a sweet one for both planters and reapers....but this year they've had to deal with a major pest......THE FIREBUG.

From St. Philip to St. Lucy large areas of land have been scorched by fire. Which will also affect next year's yields. Chairman Barbados Sugar Industries Limited, Dr. Atlee Brathwaite says there's also concern about the fires creating a pest problem. Fire officials were kept busy Wednesday across the country battling cane fires.

A major fire at the Belle in the afternoon destroyed several more acres of canes. The smoke affected visibility and created problems for motorists on the ABC Highway. The fire service was also forced to close the road into Waterford Bottom and there were concerns that it would affect students at the nearby Combermere School. But this did not occur.

Fire officials are still investigating the cause of these fires. And addressing the senate in the afternoon, agriculture minister Senator Haynesley Benn expressed shock at the number of fires and the acreage of canes that have been burnt.

Meanwhile MP for the City Patrick Todd, is appealing to business places to assist the victims of the latest house fire. The home between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, New Orleans, was completely destroyed by fire. Sisters Maureen and Marcia Goodman and six children, all of school age, have been displaced.

Mr. Todd says while all the relevant agencies have been brought in, the family has some immediate needs and business places can also support the fire service in relation to fire prevention.

Whilst the Upper House was discussing the spate of fires, firemen were on call late in the afternoon fighting a house fire at Wildey main road. The one roof building which is situated behind a shop was gutted and the roof of a nearby business place was slightly damaged.

Two tenders and eight officers fought that blaze.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fire Worry

Grazettes Business Fires Raising Suspicions

As investigations continue into the origin of today’s fire at Grazettes Industrial Park, which destroyed Tropical Beverages, one business owner says the situation is worrying.

While stopping short of charging arson, Colin Appleby of Glass Fibre Limited told Barbados TODAY: “I got a call at half past 4 this morning telling me there’s another fire in Grazettes and you think ‘Oh what’s left’.”

The fire was the latest in 18 months during which time Yankee Garments and Talius were destroyed. Those structures have since been knocked down. ”Three weeks ago this Wednesday I came in to find that my back workshop was totally destroyed with fire and nobody knew. We
think the fire started around 12 o’clock because the clock melted at 20 to 1. There was no fire alarm. It burned inside all night and totally destroyed what I had in there,” he said.

The managing director noted that despite the setback, the company was still able to meet all their outstanding orders. He also noted that the Barbados Investment Development Corporation was “totally supportive” and had provided another location nearby where they could operate
from temporarily.

He said he was told the cause of his fire was electrical and since then part of the building was rewired and tomorrow the front section, which served as a showroom and was still sooty, should be power washed.

He surmised though that there were “too many fires for it to be the wiring”. Appleby further noted that a van and a container belonging to other companies in the industrial park were also destroyed by fire recently.

Vandalism was also a problem, he said with acid bombs being thrown by children. “There is a lot of vandalism in the area. I haven’t seen it but people have seen kids throwing acid bombs. We did find a couple in the other workshop last week,” he added.

The manufacturer, who employs five persons plus himself and his wife, said that installing a sprinkler system would not assist their fire fighting efforts given the material they used in production. Moving out of the industrial estate would be too costly at this stage, Appleby said, so they were staying put.

The fire and residual smoke forced the closure of some nearby businesses. Executive Director of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association Bobbi Mckay said in a separate interview that 16 people were affected by 4:22 a.m. blaze that gutted Tropical Beverages Limited, which was
operating since 1978 and made fruit juices.

She said that the association was trying to get some costing for surveillance equipment as they were no cameras in the area at all. After today’s incident, however, she said the BMA had to address the the issue. McKay said that a patrol team went through the area earlier but had seen nothing suspicious.

Efforts to reach the owner of Tropical Beverages were futile. Reports from the fire service indicate that the building was already engulfed when they arrived with ten men and the fire chief and his deputy.


Bajans Urged To Be ‘Fire Smart’

The number of fire incidents in Barbados continues to skyrocket, with 237 fires being reported since Acting Chief Fire Officer, Lloydson Phillips, made an appeal to the public to be “fire smart” just 11 days ago.

As of yesterday, the Barbados Fire Service have recorded a total of 879 fire calls for the year in comparison with 140 during the same period last year. Of these, 587 were grass fires – a massive increase over last year’s 35, private dwelling stands at 18 as opposed to 13 in 2009 and 90 cane fires have been tended compared to 22 last year.

Malicious false alarm calls stand at 33 as compared to last year’s figure of nine. Phillips told Barbados TODAY that the next highest figure for the same period within the last five years was 2008, when 261 calls were recorded.

“These statistics are of great concern to the Barbados Fire Service since the resources ... are stretched to the limits, to respond to these fires, but there is an economic cost as well. When an appliance responds to a fire call, it burns diesel, uses water which is a precious commodity especially in this dry season, and there is general wear and tear on the vehicles as well,” he said.

“Just one spark ... can transport fire from a localised area and start a bigger fire in a greater area, or the fire can spread rapidly what is burning to the un-burnt grasslands and canes. We are
appealing to members of public to desist from burning fire in the open at this time”, added Phillips.

Sub Officer (Ag.) and Deputy Officer of the Fire Prevention Unit, Henderson Patrick, noted “what we have suggested to the general public is to bag materials that they would normally burn and work in conjunction with the Sanitation Authority to have that material moved from their homes. Persons also tend to burn open lots which may have rodents in them and pose a security problem and these persons can be assisted by the Ministry of Health who can have the area excavated. People do not have to resort to burning to get the problem fixed, there are other agencies that can help.”


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fire Beast Attacks Graeme Hall

The endless spate of grass fires continue around the island. Firefighters wage a constant battle to keep the fiery beast at bay. Graeme Hall, Christ Church was the theatre of operation as Blue Watch personnel wage war with the beast. (e-Report photo by R Best)

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day Glitter Graphics

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Flames Leap 15 Ft In The Air At Grass Fire

Raging inferno, flames from a grass fire leaped 15 feet in the air at Neil's Tenantry, St. Michael. Wednesday night was just as busy for firefighters as they continued to combat fires around the island. (e-Report video by G Alleyne)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fire On The Hill

A St Stephen's Hill mechanic is tonight counting his losses after fire destroyed his two-bedroom wall house and all its contents. David Bishop told Barbados TODAY that he was on his way home when he got a call that his Miller’s Tenantry, St Michael home was ablaze.

“I left home this morning and was at my daughter’s school’s sports for the whole day. I was near the Stadium when I got the call. All I had plugged in was the fridge,” he said as tears streamed down his face.

Firemen battled the blaze in an effort to stop it from spreading to the nearby houses. The house, which also housed his mechanic shed to the front, was lost to flames but the cars and tools were saved. Bishop lived alone and will be spending the night at a relative.

Parliamentary representative for the area, Chris Sinckler, who was on the scene, said that whatever could be done to assist Bishop will be. Two fire tenders from the Probyn Street fire headquarters, with seven officers under the command of Station Officer Tyrone Trotman, responded to the 3:23 p.m. call.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Foreign Exchange Lost As A Result Of Cane Fires

Barbados continues to lose much foreign exchange as a result of cane fires. Yesterday was no exception as a cane fire at Locust Hall, St. George caused much anxiety as it came close to some houses before being extinguished by fire officers with assistance from a auxiliary tender (water cart) in the area. (e-Report photos by T Griffith)

Fire Brings Discomfort At Cane Vale Crescent

Smoke and cow itch was in abundance yesterday as firefighters continued their daily battle to contain brush fires around Barbados. The residents in Cane Vale Crescent, Christ Church also endured another day of discomfort as fire destroyed approximately 5 acres of brush during the afternoon. (e-Report by G Alleyne)

Bourne's Village A Regular Hot Spot

The district of Bourne's Village, St. George continues to be a regular hot spot for firefighters. The large volume of cow itch in the area seems to be at the root of several fires which erupted in the neighbourhood including Tuesday night and yesterday morning. (e-Report photos by T Griffith)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Firefighters Save Elderly Woman

An elderly woman was saved from certain death in a house fire at Britton's Hill, St. Michael. Firefighters responded to the call around 1:57 a.m. and discovered the woman was unable to escape due to burglar bars which were erected on the doors and windows of the smoke filled house.

Three fire tenders with 10 officers from Fire Service Headquarters under the command of acting Divisional Officer Wilfred Marshall and Station Officer Tyrone Trotman responded to the fire which extensively damaged the eastern side of the stone building.

The elderly woman was transported to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital by ambulance suffering from smoke inhalation. Police and Fire Service officials are investigating the cause of the fire.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Water Waste

The little water that is available to Barbadians because of the current drought, is being depleted even more to fight fires.

Acting Chief Fire Officer Randolph Cox, who is currently on leave, wants people to be even more vigilant and protect the environment and natural resources by immediately reporting any suspicious looking individuals who may be setting brush fires. (Lloydson Phillips is the current acting Chief Fire Officer).

The Fire Service was again forced to respond to a number of brush fires yesterday and according to the Cox, the same water used to extinguish those blazes is water that should be flowing through taps.

"People must consider we are in a drought situation and we at the fire service use the same water they drink to fight fires. If this continues, we will suffer a serious water shortage in Barbados," he said.

Cox said a fire tender contained an average of 600 gallons of water. He said one tender usually responded to a grass fire, but often had to be refilled several times, noting as many as three tenders had been recorded responding to a grass fire.

Disturbing trend

A check with the Fire Service revealed there had been 15 grass fires up to 4:30 p.m. yesterday, mainly situated in Christ Church and St Philip, with one in St Thomas. This number is well past the total number of fires at the same time last year.

Cox said he was noticing a disturbing trend where grass fires seemed to spring back to life all by themselves.

"When fire officers respond to some fires they are forced to stay and let them burn out because if they put it out and leave, before they can get back to the station they are being called back to the same fire," he said.

Cox did not say that arson was responsible since according to him, he had no proof, but he said fires he had seen so far were being caused neither by "spontaneous combustion", nor due to sunlight being reflected through glass.

"The likelihood of that happening is miniscule, especially in light of the sheer number of fires we have been responding to. It's ridiculous, I don't even acknowledge it.

"I believe the public should report anyone whom they think is behaving suspiciously, if they see someone acting in a manner they should not be, or in a place where they ordinarily should not be, then call the police, do not wait until something happens," he said.

Cox said the police were always informed when they gathered information at any fire and said he personally believed anyone who started a fire, whether maliciously or not, which then caused damage to someone else's property, should be held legally liable.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Fire Engages Firefighters For Over Five Hours

A large fire which enveloped the areas of Bannatyne, Kendal, South Ridge, Vauxhall and Sheraton Park in Christ Church engaged fire officers for more than 5 hours today. It was another fiery day as firefighters endured the blazing heat and sun to contain the fire. (e-Report by G Alleyne)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fired Up!

St Philip and Christ Church have been the hardest hit by the firebug so far this year.

According to statistics released by the Barbados Fire Service, there were 117 fires in St Philip and 93 in Christ Church, for January. In St Michael there were 76.

In an appeal, Acting Chief Fire Officer Lloydson Phillips urged Barbadians to desist from rash and unwise burning of all types.

"Whatever the reason, there is a failure to recognise the inherent danger and the high level of risk which others are exposed to as a result of this indiscriminate action.

"A telling example was the house fires that resulted from a grass fire in Christ Church earlier last month," Phillips told the WEEKEND NATION.

"This is just one example of the economic impact that these fires are having on our country at a time when we can ill afford it," he said. Another danger pointed out by the senior fire officer was the environmental risk involved with fires.

"The products of combustion from fires are impacting the health of our citizens more adversely because we cannot tell what is in the pastures when there is illegal dumping," he added.

The acting fire chief noted that the Fire Service, like all other Government departments, had a responsibility to promote and maintain a climate that would encourage foreign direct investment and maintain safety standards in the hotel and tourism sector.

"We have to promote fire and life safety in all of our social institutions, and at the same time spread the same message throughout the community. We have limited resources and will not be able to achieve these goals without the fervent support of every member of the public," Phillips said.


'Stop The Burning'

January 2010 was the most fiery ever recorded in Barbados.
And acting Chief Fire Officer Lloydson Phillips has appealed to Barbadians to stop the dangerous practice of igniting grass fires which accounted for a phenomenal 304 of the 452 fires recorded for the month.

As a result, the island’s 249 fire officers have been severely stretched trying to respond to the large number of fires.

Phillips told the WEEKEND NATION he was particularly concerned about the sudden upsurge in grass fires and noted there were four times as many fires over the highest ever number (82) in 2008 in a comparative five-year period (2005 – 2010).

“Persons light fires and cause open burning for many different reasons. It may be to get rid of rodents, cow itch vines, to clear a lot, to improve security or to beautify their surroundings,” the acting chief fire officer said.

“Whatever the reason, there is a failure to recognise the inherent danger and the high level of risk which others are exposed to as a result of this indiscriminate action,” he added.

Reports indicated that on occasions last month there were as many as six fire tenders fighting a single grassfire in an effort to safeguard inhabited districts. Phillips cited the case of a sheep farmer who lit a grassy area in an effort to better secure his stock from attacks by dogs. The fire got out of control.

Phillips warned of the negative impact fires had on the economy. Barbadians should also consider the drought situation facing the country over the past 12 months. “Please desist from burning the grass and sugar canes. Stop indiscriminate burning, it is the dry season and outside is quite windy. Exercise greater vigilance at home and in the work place,” he urged.

The drastic increase in fires last month followed an encouraging 25 per cent reduction in overall fires for 2009. The senior fire officer noted that Barbadians last year demonstrated a high level of cooperation with the Fire Service’s campaign to reduce fires.

“These statistics (2009) reflected very responsible behaviour by our citizens and was an appropriate response to the economic challenges we are currently facing,” he said.


Stop Burning Stuff!

Brush fires have stretched the Barbados Fire Service to the limit.

And Acting Chief Fire Officer Lloydson Phillips is appealing to Barbadians to stop indiscriminate burning.

Phillips said: “At the beginning of 2010 we are faced with an abnormally high number of fires as they rage in every section of the Island and have placed a very heavy demand on the resources of this department.

“Where at the end of January 2009 we had 13 grass fires, at the end of the corresponding period [this year] we have had 304.”

The statistics also showed there were 36 cane fires at the end of January, compared to just five the previous year, while rubbish fires stand at 38 as opposed to last year’s 15. Particularly troubling is the hike in false alarm calls to the fire service from six in 2009 to 17 in 2010.

“Persons light fires and cause open burning for many different reasons. Whatever the reason there is a failure to recognise the inherent danger and the high level of risk which others are exposed to as a result of this indiscriminate action,” Phillips said.

Pointing to the negative economic impact that the fires have on the island “at a time when we can ill afford it”, Phillips stressed “every time a commercial building fire takes place some jobs are lost and as recovery time increases more jobs are lost. Every acre of grass burnt means that domestic and commercial farmers have to buy more feed. The products of combustion from fires are impacting the health of our citizens more adversely because we cannot tell what is in the pastures when there is illegal dumping”.

“These factors, coupled with the drought we have been experiencing for the past 12 months, and the current economic recession is a good enough basis on which to appeal to the general public to revert to or adopt a level of responsible behaviour which will help rather than hurt at this time,” he stated.

“We have limited resources and will not be able to achieve these goals without the fervent support of every member of the public. Stop lighting the grass and sugar canes. Stop indiscriminate burning it is the dry season and outside is quite windy” Phillips insisted. “Exercise greater vigilance at home and in the work place. Ensure that children and the elderly are constantly supervised.”

Meanwhile, fire officer Glyne Alleyne has also asked Barbadians to be aware of the impact fires were having on persons who suffer with respiratory ailments.

“Like the rest of Barbados, we are concerned about indiscriminate burning and there are a number of persons who have called the department complaining that they are asthmatic and that the smoke from their neighbours’ fires is causing them complications,” Alleyne said.

“It is a serious problem, the fire department makes provision for instances of rodent infestation and where cow itch is causing a problem. In these cases, we, in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture will conduct a controlled burning to minimise the effect of this discomfort to persons,” he added.

Alleyne suggested that there were other viable options that could be explored before resorting to burning. “Outside is dry, we understand that, but persons may try mulching. Take the leaves and dry grass – use it in your garden,” the fire fighter said.

Alternately, householders may look into neatly packing garbage and arranging to have it picked up by the Sanitation Service Authority or a private company and/or seek a company which offers recycling services for reusable items.

“I find however, in Barbados, it is a common practice – almost cultural that we burn. This is not necessary, but it has become a habit of the local community where people burn on a daily basis – regardless of the hour of the day.”

Furthermore, Alleyne added that often persons do not have the means to extinguish the fire, resulting in the fire service being called to control the situation. “This is the kind of irresponsible behaviour that is happening in this country on a daily basis. It is a problem,” he continued, citing incidents where persons burned rubbish and the fire got away and destroyed their neighbour’s house.

“I am not aware, in my 13 years at the fire service, of an instance where someone who accidentally destroyed their neighbours house had to financially compensate them... and many of the residential homes in Barbados are not insured. The financial loss, the displacement – it is tragic,” he added.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Counter-fire Operations At Arch Hall

Raging flames erupted as counter-fire operations were conducted at Arch Hall, St. Thomas on Tuesday. The exercise lasted approximately 3 hours as firefighters tried to control a fire in several acres of cow-itch infested bush. (e-Report by G Alleyne)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fire Service Using Technology

The Barbados Fire Service is using today’s technology to share its business with the public.

“I know that we are the pioneers because none of the other emergency personnel so far have broadened their horizons in this area,” revealed fire officer, Glyne Alleyne, while explained they were using social network sites such as Facebook to enhance contact with Barbadians.

“We are leading the pack, having created a network and all of these avenues have allowed us to share what we do with the public.”

“Each station is fully linked to headquarters via network and right now we are looking at the possibility of having mobile terminals on board our appliances, enabling our personnel to get floor plans for buildings on scene and allowing for geo-mapping”, Alleyne added.

He noted that one meeting and informal discussions had been held so far regarding having an Automatic Vehicle Location and GPS tracking for fire officers deployed. “Barbados is a small country, but still we are trying to establish the nearest tender to an emergency and this will efficiently be done via GPS which allows us to determine which is the nearest truck that we can divert to an incident.”

The fire department also intends to make full use of multimedia and Internet streaming to educate and interact with the public.

“Only last year I had a number of discussions with my colleague ... from the Fire Prevention Unit, and we planned this year to create a number of video clips which can be put on our Ustream channel where the public can go and watch these clips,” Alleyne added.

“The general categories that we looked at are kitchen safety, electronics and appliance safety, and the problem of nuisance calls to the fire service to name a few. I expect that very soon ... we will start the process of video recording some dramatisations and actual informative clips we can put there for the public to watch”, he continued.

“As far as future plans go, we are currently working along with Motorola to improve accountability on the fire ground; this will come via our communications infrastructure.”


Monday, February 1, 2010

Bajan Fire Fighters Launch E-Report

The Bajan Fire Fighters' Network is happy to announce the launch of our Electronic Report (E-Report) service. We will be testing this facility during the coming week and invite you to send us your incident photos or short video clips.

Your photos and videos can be sent to us via mobile phone or email. During the testing period you may use our email address: to submit your pictures or videos.

Be apart of our Fire Network (FireNet) by sending us photos or short video clips of accidents, fires, rescues, floods, etc. Be sure to submit your name and a brief description of your photo or video when forwarding information, this will be used when posting to our network on the internet.

Our network currently includes Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Ning, YouTube and Ustream.