City Emergency Zooms In on Awareness and Prevention

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Updated: May 10, 2017

The City Emergency Management Organization is holding a two day symposium titled “Municipal Symposium on Fire Management, Awareness and Preparation”.  The discussions for the two day event include administration, fire safety and prevention, operations, and fire safety for families and businesses. Councilor Phillip Willoughby spoke more about the objectives of the event.

PHILLIP WILLOUGHBY

“Simply to bring awareness, preparations, mitigation as it pertains to, relates to and concerns fire and I think our prime example was that of the Pink’s Alley fire. The response and the outcome that we have seen and experienced firsthand but its not just only to limit these localized events to mainly fire. In our past we have looked at wide areas of low pressure and flooding and hurricane, earthquake and climate change we don’t want to lose touch with what all the other disasters can look like but today specifically we are touching on fire and our preparedness and awareness.”

Fire Chief at the Belize National Fire Service, Ted Smith says that two major concerns have been raised and efforts will be made to ensure these are remedied to provide better service within the community.

TED SMITH

“One of the things that comes out of this symposium is that the emergency line is that we do not have an emergency line at the fire service and people believe that this causes a sort of delay in the response, they believe that if there was a direct emergency line to the  fire service this could improve our response to an emergency. So we have looked at that and spoken about that at length and one of the other issues is the free access into an incident area and turnaround time within the incident area for example moving to a water head. The fire trucks only carry a limited amount of water and they exhaust that pretty early based on the extent of the fire that we would find on arrival so they have to supplement water supply either from a hydrant or an open source. In many cases they are not right next to the structure and if they are there we wouldn’t be able to use them and would have to move further. Everyone seems to love fires and they congregate nearby and they do not allow the department free access out to the open source, so we discussed that with the City Council and we will continue to discuss the matter further in order to ensure that zoning occurs and designated areas in and out is set up prior to the incident than when an incident occurs within this area these roads will be designated arteries in and out so the department can reach and access water and if there is need for ambulance to come in and pick up casualties they can do that.”

PHILLIP WILLOUGHBY

“Next week we will look at forging the way forward in making the requests from the chief a reality and how we can make it materialize as quickly as possible as we believe that those are two urgent needs that the department needs to have to see success stories in their response.”

Taking part in the event are the Belize City Council, National Fire Service, other municipalities, BDF, Belize Port Authority, Red Cross, and the Ministry of Human Services. The Belize Port Authority has also arranged for presentations by two experts from the US on marine fires.