Chief Fire Officer, Mr. Zebalon McLean said the dangers of backyard and outdoor burning were the main focus of activities to observe this year’s Fire Safety Awareness Week.
Chief McLean said backyard and outdoor burning are extremely dangerous as more homes in the Territory are closer in proximity. He added that living in the tropics provide consistent high temperatures and sea breeze blowing inland, which result in controlled fires quickly and easily becoming out of control.
The chief said, “Our main concern is, and has always been, our residents, our neighbours, our fellow humans. We have seen a rise in respiratory ailments and, even without those conditions, it is a massive health threat to have persons inhaling smoke from backyard and outdoor fires set by neighbours.”
Mr. McLean added, “We continue to appeal to residents not to "smoke out" their neighbours. No one wants to have smoke in their homes; in their clothes, furniture, curtains and throughout their rooms. We urge the public, please, think of your neighbor. Don't do unto others what you would not want done to you."
Chief McLean said the week of activities for Fire Safety and Awareness week was well received by the public.
“Positive statements were made to officers, generous donations were received by various entities, many leaders in Government sent their best wishes, and persons were interested in what was happening,” he said.
Courtesy calls were made on the chief and his staff by Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie; Deputy Premier, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley and Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Honourable Neville Smith. Honourable Alvera Maduro-Caines also provided lunch in recognition of their service to the Territory.
The Chief Fire Officer said Fire Safety Awareness Week is a tradition started by past Chief Fire Officer Mr. Leando Stoutt, and reminded residents of the importance of being safe and smart, when it comes to fires.
He thanked the business community including Trident Trust, who donated six J&C Trading Ltd gift certificates valued at $50 to the winners of the ZBVI Morning Quiz. The winners were, Anjanique Cheltenham; Dejae Sebastian; Dejoie Sebastian and Keosha Leostin. Other sponsors of prizes included Harney’s, Digicel and SOL.
This year's Fire Safety Week was held from October 11 to 17 and was declared officially opened by Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities, Honourable Kye Rymer at the Sea Cow’s Bay Methodist Church under the theme, ‘Smoke Kills – Be Fire Safe and Fire Smart’.
The Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service continues to carry out its mandate of protecting life, property and the environment, through a proactive approach to continuously enhance the quality of service provided.
For more information telephone the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service at 468-4268 or 468-4182.