Fire officials are reporting a sharp rise in the number of fires this year when compared to the same period last year, with the Barbados Fire Service registering an increase in calls in virtually every category of emergency.
So far this year fire officers have responded to 1, 252 fire calls, up from the 1, 129 it received between January 1 and June 9 last year.
Of particular concern to Chief Fire Officer Errol Maynard is the number of residential fires, particularly in the dense areas of St Michael, which reported 17 of the 39 house fires so far this year.
These blazes have taken two lives, the same number as the corresponding period in 2015.
“We as a people need to keep around our properties clean,” Maynard stressed yesterday at the launch of a life safety handbook at the Fire Service’s Probyn Street, Bridgetown branch.
2016 has also seen grass fires rise to 681 from 637 last year, while calls for burning rubbish climbed from 158 to 200, according to statistics from the Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement Unit.
Maynard said many of the grass fires were deliberately set, and he appealed to those involved to stop this practice, which he said results in thousands of gallons of water going to waste.
The fire chief was also concerned about the number of vehicular accidents, with the department responding to 37 such calls since the start of the year. It was not immediately clear how this compared to 2015 numbers.
The handbook, which is available to corporate businesses, school and homes, is designed to equip readers with fight prevention tips, including how to use of smoke detectors.