Thursday, March 31, 2011

Evening Fire Guts City Homes

Six people have been left homeless after a fire in San Domingo Alley, King William Street, The City, destroyed one house and extensively damaged three others.

Eyewitnesses reported that the fire started in an abandoned house, which itself was razed.

Around 5:30 p.m., three tenders, along with 15 firefighters, arrived at the scene to extinguish the fire. Velda Holder, 76, who occupied one of the houses with her son Emerson Holder, said that she "didn't know what was going on".

She explained: 'I was at the front door sitting down and them [residents] come and tell me 'Come, Ma; come out, Ma, fire behind you' and then them come and lift me out."

Another of the affected residents, Leroy Spooner, who shared his home with Sandra Osbourne, recalled that he "was inside drinking some tea". "Then somebody say, 'Fire outside'. When I look through the window now, it was more than a fire, man. People lift me out and put me to sit down," said Spooner, the father of Member of Parliament for the City, Patrick Todd.

Fifty-two-year-old Arthanel Roberts and Fay Joseph occupied the other house that suffered damage.

Acting Station Officer Neal Smithwick said that upon arriving on the scene, his team was able to bring the fire under control in a timely manner, thereby reducing the possibility of damage to other houses in the area.

"Our major concern would be the close proximity of the houses within this area and trying to maintain that fire within the initial area without it spreading to existing properties, and this we have been able to do to a very great extent, " he said.

Todd arrived on the scene around 6:45, thanked the residents who assisted those displaced persons for displaying a "real good example of community spirit".

"People sometimes like to give the residents in working-class areas such as this a bad name. But I can speak from experience, since my father and his relatives live in this area, that these Barbadians citizens who wish for an equal opportunity to play their part in national development," he said.

Source: Nation News

Tsunami Public Lecture And Panel Discussion

The Department of Emergency Management, in association with the Coastal Zone Management Unit, will host a public lecture entitled Caribbean Tsunamis: Can the Japan event happen to us? this Friday, April 1, at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Lecture Theatre 2.

Director of the International Tsunami Information Centre in Hawaii, Dr. Laura Kong, who works closely with the Director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, the Caribbean's interim tsunami warning facility, will be the featured speaker.

The panel will comprise representatives from various agencies responsible for tsunami monitoring and detection, modelling, warning, preparedness, readiness and resilience.

Members of the public are invited to attend the lecture and learn about their national tsunami warning focal point. (BGIS)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Test Shows Need To Improve Caribbean Tsunami Warning System

UNITED NATIONS -- The first full-scale test of the tsunami warning system in the Caribbean has highlighted the need to reinforce preparations as well as improve communication, evacuation plans and the role of the private sector, the United Nations said on Saturday.

The simulated tsunami alert, dubbed Caribe Wave 2011, was carried out on 23 March and involved 34 countries. Under the test scenario, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake was signaled off the coast of the Virgin Islands, which generated a tsunami with waves reaching up to ten metres (33 feet).

The exercise tested the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (Caribe EWS), which was set up in 2005 under the aegis of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“The exercise highlighted a number of gaps in the transmission of information,” UNESCO stated in a news release, noting that in several areas, the message was not received by the Global Telecommunications System (GTS).

In other cases, reception of messages via the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN) failed. At national level only a few mobile telephone operators joined the exercise.

Populations and media throughout the region keenly followed the exercise, which also allowed for an evaluation of evacuation plans and the role of the private sector in the case of a catastrophe, the agency added.

“I am delighted with the level of participation in this exercise and the interest that has been shown by local populations,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. “Such drills are essential to evaluate the efficiency of warning systems and ensure their efficient operation when catastrophe strikes.”

Similar exercises have been held in the Pacific (2008) and Indian Ocean (2009) regions.


House Burns In St. Joseph

The latest house fire has raised serious concerns about the water problems being experienced by residents in the Scotland District.

A St. Joseph family is counting their losses after an early morning fire completely destroyed one house and extensively damaged another.

Maurice Chase lost his home and all his possessions in the blaze just after one this morning, while his mother Nita Chase who lives next door, suffered significant damage to her home.

Thanks to the assistance of her neighbours, she was able to save most of her possessions.

But Ms. Chase who was in tears when CBC News reached the scene, says her son's home could have been saved if they had water.

She says for years, residents have had to wake up to water outages and low water pressure and they are tired of asking the Water Authority for assistance.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ning Network Upgrade Completed

On Friday, March 25, 2011 we successfully implemented the long awaited upgrade of our Ning hosting package, members will immediately notice a few changes around our Ning network.

You are invited to visit and browse the network, your feedback on the aforementioned network upgrade is solicited. See:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fire In Nelson Street

A St. Michael woman is assessing her losses Monday morning following a fire at an apartment complex in Nelson Street, Bridgetown where she resides.

According to fire officials fifty-four year old Rosemary Cadet lost most of her possessions when her apartment in the complex was gutted by fire. Reports are that Rosemary was at home at the time of the blaze.

The apartment complex in Nelson Street also housed four other rooms including the popular Village Bar which is owned by Norman Nurse of Wanstead Terrace, St. Michael.

The other rooms however received no major damage. Officials say the fire occurred around quarter-past-nine Sunday night.

One fire tender and six officers under the command of Acting Deputy Fire Chief Gittens responded to the blaze.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tsunami Warning Exercise For Caribbean

Thirty-three countries will take part next week in the Caribbean region’s first full-scale tsunami warning exercise as part of United Nations-backed efforts to test and strengthen the region’s defences against such calamities.

A UNESCO release said that Wednesday’s exercise, Caribe Wave 11, aims to test the early warning system for tsunamis and other coastal hazards set up in the region in 2005 by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) established under the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The exercise will proceed on a fictional earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale and located off the coast of the United States Virgin Islands, the UNESCO release stated.

It is expected to highlight the effectiveness of tsunami warning mechanisms, weather forecast offices, national coast guards and other relevant offices.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, said last week’s catastrophic quake and tsunami in Japan “have clearly shown the crucial importance of emergency arrangements. The development of a coordinated system in the Caribbean appears in this context to be more pertinent than ever.”

The release said that in the Caribbean, at least 75 tsunamis have been recorded in the past 500 years, with more than 3,500 deaths attributed to them.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fire Leaves Two Familes Homeless

Two families are now homeless after a fire this afternoon destroyed their wooden homes in Grants Gap, Westbury Road, St Michael.

Thick plumes of smoke filled the midday skies as the blaze flattened the two houses and caused minor damages to another.

Three fire tenders – one from the Arch Hall, St Thomas, one from Station Hill, St Michael and the other from the Worthing fire station in Christ Church – responded to the blaze.

When arrived on the scene around 12:05 p.m. scores of curious residents could be seen converged in the area trying to catch a glimpse of the ordeal as fire fighters worked feverishly to put out the blaze and prevent it from spreading to nearby houses.

Sandra Farnum and her son Michael Thompson, who were occupants of one of the homes destroyed, said they were at Anka Optical in The City when they got a call that their house was on fire.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Defence Force Personnel Undergo Firefighting Training

The Barbados Fire Service and the Barbados Defence Force are in a joint venture to improve the response and ability of Defence Force personnel to fight fires.

This comes during a two week training session at the Arch Hall Fire Station which sought to educate members of the BDF on methods to readily equip themselves in the event of a fire.

Meanwhile Colonel Alvin Quintyne of the BDF believes the Barbados Coast Guard should be a part of this most important venture to handle fires on sea vessels.

Above photo: BDF personnel during the training session. (e-Report photo by T Griffith)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Caribbean Fire Chiefs 2011 Conference

The Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs is proud to announce their Tenth Anniversary CAFC 2011 Conference which will be held in Trinidad and Tobago from November 28th to December 3rd 2011.

Start your planning now for this expanded conference which will include Members Planning and Development Workshops, JOLA and EMS tracks for mid-range First Responders, a Firefighters track and direct program elements for Safety Officers and planning specialists.

CAFC is also proud to host their expanding cadre of Sponsors and Vendors representing corporate partners from the EMS, Compliance, and Fire Industries.

You are invited to participate in the CAFC Challenge Events proposed for EMS, Firefighter, and Vehicle Extrication.

Fore more information visit:

International Women's Day 2011

The Bajan Fire Fighters' Network joins the international community in recognizing and celebrating International Women's Day 2011. We salute all of our women...