The month of February has been designated as Fire Prevention and Awareness Month and with a 40.5% reduction in fires for 2015, Head of the Fire Department, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Glenroy Corion said he hopes people take heed to the information being put out to ensure the numbers continue to drop.
ASP Corion who was speaking at a NAWASA-sponsored press conference on the dry season, disclosed that in 2015, there were 397 reported fires as compared to 558 in 2014.
Inspector Senneth Joseph who is also attached to Fire wanted the public to know that the smallest fire could create the biggest damage.
He also mentioned the “no burn policy” adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture and the penalty which goes with it.
“The penalty is $500 or three months imprisonment or you can (be) fined $500 and still go to prison for three months or you can go straight to prison for three months. However, under the criminal code we also have a section under the criminal code with fire use, where people burn, cause fire, or light fire and it says that you must inform your neighbor and (if) you fail to do that you’ll be fined $48,” said Insp. Joseph.
He also spoke about a license that must be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture by anyone who has intention of lighting a fire to engage in burning.
“You have to apply to burn…this is what creates fires. Sometime from these small fires you can get a large amount of fires. People have been charged and I believe this time around we will have a more vigorous approach this year to make sure that persons who violate, we would have to start bringing people to court,” he said.
ASP Corion is advising members of the public to take advantage of the fire drills and training offered for this dry season.
He said: “Remember, years gone by, we had the Saturdays where we invite members of the public to come in and take little fire drills and get lectures. We’re moving into that direction. Most of the time when a fire occurs we’re not around, so if we have people trained it could be easily handled by members of the public.
“…We have the volunteer fire brigade and we have members with us. We are looking to use those persons to do most of the training. We look at them; assess them because from time to time we need an assessment – so we’ll be using them. We (are) asking members of the public to partake, we want you all to buy into that initiative,” he added.
Speculation is rife that Grenada and other Eastern Caribbean islands can expect an extremely dry season in the first half of the year with drought-like conditions prevailing in some cases.