One of the most common criticisms that the National Fire Service receives, especially after a house fire, is that they responded with not enough water. Today the National Fire Service staged an exercise at the Yarborough Field in Belize City, aiming to sensitize the public about the capabilities and limitations of the fire trucks. Fire Chief Ted Smith explained.
“A fire would let people get excited and say the truck comes without water but we do not carry an unlimited supply of water in an emergency. We only carry what is in the tank and once we start to discharge it doesn’t take long. Hence the reason we try to put in place measures to find supplementary supply while the firefight is going on. If you’ve ever been to a fire, when we arrive on the ground, usually we arrive with two trucks in Belize City and in most places. When we arrive on the ground you will see only one truck goes into operation. The other truck would then connect itself to the other truck that is doing the firefight and what it would do, it would supply his tank of water to the truck that is doing the firefight so that when he has exhausted his tank of water and break off to find supplementary supply he would then leave the truck on the ground with a full tank of water. So we try to work it in such a manner that we give it enough time; you see how long it takes to find supplementary water, in this case, go to the hydrants and return to the scene but the first tank of water should then keep the fire under control and the second tank of water it is hoped would reduce the fire magnitude even more based on the size of the fire when we arrive on the ground allowing us time to return from the hydrant or return from the open source. Supplement the scene in different ways for the next truck to return and assist on the fire grounds. On our second demonstration, what you saw was that it was a larger fire and it had much more exposure to risk. So a third line, attack line was put in place. That attack line was designed to prevent the fire from spreading to the nearest structure that was at risk. Therefore when we go into that operation you see that even takes three minutes or just above three minutes for that tank of water to be exhausted. So we do not have an unlimited supply.”