Barbadians would have to acquire permits to burn garbage around their homes if the head of the Barbados Fire Service (BFS) gets his way.
Concerned about indiscriminate burning across the island, Chief Fire Officer Errol Maynard said he intends to make the permit proposal to Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson.
He spoke about that plan on the sidelines of a Fire Service Outreach Programme planned by the St John Fire Station, and targeted at 18 families in the rural parishes.
“Barbadians tend to use fire to clean up around their residences. It is not a good practice; in most cases, it is a nuisance. It impacts on the environment, it impacts on the health of those persons who have challenges and, basically, we do not encourage it. We are looking at finding legislation that you have to get a permit to burn, but that has to be discussed with our minister and ministry,” Maynard disclosed, adding that “90 per cent of the fires that we respond to are fires that started small and they got out of control because persons don’t know what they are doing.”
Although saying they were fewer fires this year than last year, the fire chief urged Barbadians to be vigilant.
He disclosed that there has been an increase in calls to the BFS to respond to grass and trash fires. Maynard said that while the Fire Service has been continuously educating the public about fire safety, most of the incidents have been caused by negligence.
“We found we have had fires as a result of carelessness and some as a result of defective equipment, and we are asking Barbadians to just be a bit more careful. If they have equipment to be serviced, just get a qualified technician to service it for them and follow the fire prevention tips that we normally give,” he advised.
During the BFS distribution to impoverished families recommended by the Welfare Department, Maynard presented smoke alarms and offered suggestions on how to be safe during the holidays.
One of the recipients, 21-year-old Bath Land, St John resident Ayeisha Nurse, told the media she was surprised by the presentation.
“I am so grateful for what you have brought for me,” she said, adding that her holidays were enjoyable and she was most thankful for life.
The St John branch of the BFS also paid a visit to their former station officer Gregory Hutson who recently retired from duty. Huston, who joined the service in 1979, was all smiles as he shook hands with his former comrades.
Having spent over three decades in the BFS, he said he learned something new daily while on the job.
“Every day is something different,” Hutson said.