Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Hon. Mark Vanterpool, Minister for Communications and Works has thrown his support behind the Fire and Rescue Services, and pledged to work towards introducing robust legislation to address issues such as controlled burning.
"Another area that the Ministry fully supports is the need to amend existing legislation in order to provide the department with a more robust legal framework in areas such as controlled burning, among other needed changes," he stated.
Minister Vanterpool was addressing fire officers yesterday to mark the opening of this year's Fire Safety Awareness Week which will be observed from October 7-14 under the theme, "Let's do our part, don't give fire a place to start".
The Minister said everyone must do their part in prevention of fires, whether it is through the adoption of fire prevention techniques that promote safety, or the need for cultural shifts in the mindset of people as they relate to common practices in their everyday lives.
"...Doing our part means being proactive rather than reactive by equipping our homes and businesses with smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers and having fire escape plans, to name a few actions that can be implemented. We should also become more citizen-focused about the roles that we can play individually and collectively in promoting safe practices instead of being wholly dependent on the Fire and Rescue Services when faced with imminent danger," he said.
Minister Vanterpool explained that one of the main keys to preventing fires is through the creation of awareness campaigns and education.
"Of course, during this week the Fire Department will be rolling out a number of activities that are aimed to do just that and I applaud the efforts of our officers in this regard. However, the main objective, I am sure you will agree, is to see increased community involvement whether it is through our churches, schools and workplaces or at other establishments that we may frequent for social gatherings," he asserted.
The Works Minister acknowledged that the Fire and Rescue Services continue to play a very key role in protecting the lives and livelihoods of residents and visitors.
"The Ministry of Communications and Works recognizes this fact and fully supports the department in its ongoing efforts in such areas as capacity building, training and development of officers to perform critical roles as well as through its community outreach activities that are designed to create fire safety awareness."
Meanwhile, Chief Fire Officer, Zebalon McLean sent a message of community participation.
"We encourage the public to celebrate with us; bring the children to see the fire trucks; ask questions you always wanted to ask. Get some valuable advice that can be used in your home and your place of business. Come and meet the officers in person, who work day and night to protect you and your property," McLean stated.