The Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service has reported an increase in the number of emergency calls it receives annually.
Speaking to BVI News recently, Acting Chief Fire Officer William Penn said most of these calls have not been fire-related.
“Although calls are increasing, those increases are directly resulting from a humanitarian standpoint,” Penn told our news centre.
“For one, we get more medical calls as a result of a range of factors — we assist in falls, persons traversing the streets, etcetera. [We’ve also received calls for] near-drownings, marine-related incidents, and road traffic accidents,” he added.
The acting chief alluded the drop in fire-related calls to a number of fire prevention initiatives that have been spearheaded by his department.
“We do have a really active public committee programme which is dedicated in terms of fire prevention and also the processes in detecting, controlling and extinguishing fires in the very early stages. That is working pretty well,” Penn stated.
“We are also doing a range of good-will fire prevention inspections at a range of public and private offices; advising the proprietors and businesses of any kind of potential risks and how to mitigate those risks and, importantly, if there is an emergency which is fire related, how persons are to work within those purposes without being impacted by the fire.”
Penn said the landscape of the territory has changed for the better since the beginning of the 2019 hurricane season in June.
He said this has resulted in a significant drop in bush fires.
“If you go back to early 2019 with the drying of conditions, you would have had an increase of calls relating to outdoor fires … As you can see now, for the past month or so, we have been getting some rain and the territory is reasonably lush and green and in that environment, the outdoor fires that was experienced during the dry spell would now not be a common thing.”
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