The Saint Lucia Fire Service (SLFS) has extended condolences to Guyana’s Chief Fire Officer Gregory Wickham, the Guyana Fire Service and the people of Guyana over Sunday’s Mahdia Secondary School dormitory fire that killed 19 children.
“An incident of that magnitude and nature can shake any nation to its core,” an SLFS statement noted.
The statement saluted the men and women of the Guyana Fire Service who placed their lives on the line while they bravely responded to and performed their duties during the incident.
“We stand with the Chief Fire Officer in this period of tragedy and we will continue lending our support through the Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) in any way possible,” it said.
The CAFC recently held a business meeting in the Dominican Republic from May 14 to 21, 2023.
Fire Chiefs from around the Caribbean attended.
They discussed various issues affecting emergency responses.
The Fire Chiefs recognised the need for continued cooperation in training and standardising equipment and noted common challenges facing the Caribbean regarding disaster response.
And they also discussed the continued strengthening of ties with the Caribbean Development Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE).
Not only should there be training for the first responders, but we need to have the buildings for institutions like schools, etc be up to code with the requirements for dieting fires and having appropriate emergency responses when the alarms come on. There should never be an instantce where people are locked in. Having other monitoring means and good fire alarm systems could have helped a lot in a situation like that. Unfortunately, the doors were locked and the house mother had trouble finding the keys. The student who intentionally set the fire was unhappy her phone was taken away for communication between her and an older man. But having heavy locks are not ways to safeguard people. Hopefully, as the region works together, things like that are addressed.