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by PAT DIALMost Guyanese today are not aware of the importance of the Fire Service to the protection of lives, property and comfort of citizens.  The Fire Service is taken for granted unlike in the last century when citizens were very aware of its importance.In those times, there was an aura of romance about the “Fire Brigade” as it was then known.  Children at school aspired to be firemen and a good proportion of the professional and business classes joined the Auxiliary Fire Brigade, being a member of which was somewhat of a status symbol.Though the work and activities of Fire Brigade, now known as the “Guyana Fire Service” has expanded manyfold, people are even now less cognizant of its importance.  The only time when one seems to know of the Fire Service is when one is in trouble.In rhis week’s Consumer Concerns, we thought of focusing on the Guyana Fire Service so that Consumers and the public at large could once again begin to be conscious of this important segment of Guyanese life.We therefore spoke with Mr McGregor, the acting Fire Chief, since Mr Marlon Gentle, the substantive Fire Chief was on leave.  Mr McGregor handed us over to Mr Compton Sparman, the longest serving officer of the Fire Service, and as expected, he was a mine of information and anecdotes.In earlier colonial times,Wholesale Jerseys US, the Fire Brigade was centered on Georgetown and the Georgetown Service had the responsibility for the countryside.  Now, the Service is countrywide: In Georgetown there are four stations – Stabroek which is headquarters, Alberttown, Campbellville and West Ruimveldt.  On the East Bank Demerara, there is a station at Diamond and one at Timehri.  The Timehri Station specializes in dealing with aircraft fires, aeroplanes running off runaways and other possible aircraft accidents as well as the usual fire-fighting duties.  On the West Coast Demerara, there is the Leonora Station.  In Berbice, there are four stations – Onverwagt, New Amsterdam and two in Corriverton.There are also stations at Linden, Bartica and Anna Regina.  There are five Auxiliary Stations at Lethem,Jerseys NFL Wholesale, Kwakwani, Port Kaituma,Nike NFL Jerseys China, Mabaruma and Mazaruni.The Fire Service deals with fires of all types as for example, grass fires, house fires, electrical fires,Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping, aircraft and fuel fires.  Each type of fire requires its own technique for successful extinguishing – some types of fires require water, others may require the use of foam or dry powder.  Sometimes it is necessary to employ explosives.In addition to its core activity of extinguishing fires, The Fire Service offers a plethora of services and help to the public. We will mention some of these so that the public could have a better understanding of the Fire Service to the life of the Community and at same time inform of some of their offerings to the public:Rescuing victims of various kinds of accidents is one of the daily activities of the Fire Service.  For example, in traffic accidents, or collapsing old houses or in construction work, the Fire Service is the only body with the necessary tools such as appropriate saws, jacks, cutting and welding torches and other such tools and at the same time could render first aid to victims.There are other types of rescue.  Sometimes someone may be marooned on a tall tree and can’t come down, or a construction worker on a very high scaffold may have an attack of vertigo and has to be brought down, or a would-be suicide from a house roof.Animals are also rescued as for example someone’s valuable pet cat climbing a very high tree and can’t come down or horses falling into canals and have to be lifted out.During periods of drought or water shortage, the Service has kept institutions such as schools, Help and Shelter,Cheap NHL Jerseys Authentic, the Palms and even private residences supplied with water.The Service often has to hose out tarmacs in preparation for public and private functions.  It would adjust flag poles and flags for embassies, government departments and even private residences.  It would blow out drains in various parts of the City to facilitate drainage.At a fee, it would supply visiting ships with water and would also salvage sunken ships or pump out water from ships which may be taking in water.One of the most useful services to the community is the Fire Service ambulance.  Very often, the Fire Service ambulance is the only one available to fetch the injured and sick to hospital or health centre.  And first aid is a continuous activity at all times.One very important aspect of the administration of the Service is the continuous training of firemen in the most modern techniques.  The Fire Service runs a training complex at Leonora which accommodates 60 trainees.  There is also continuous foreign training in the Caribbean, especially in Barbados and Trinidad.Training in the United Kingdom is a tradition which has continued from colonial times; for example, seven firemen went to England last year for five-week training programmes.Despite the great impact the Service makes on Guyanese life, the Management is never complacent but is always working for improvements and building a Service comparable to the best.
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