|Fire safety essential in schools|
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Sep 19, 2012
Knowledge can sometimes be the difference between life and death, especially for children in moments of crisis.
Last year seven children died in fires in The Bahamas.
Fritz Hong lost four of his children in a blaze at his Sandilands Village Road apartment. The fire was the result of an electrical shortage, according to then fire chief Superintendent Jeffrey Deleveaux.
In an effort to educate children, grade three students of Claridge Primary School on Monday were invited to the launch of Fire Safety Awareness Week at the Mall of Marathon.
Janatha Johnson, the class’ teacher, said it was vital for students to know what to do in the case of a fire.
“They are the ones who need to know what to do and then they can go home and teach their parents what to do,” she said.
“So if we can get it into them early... they could take the information and save their lives and help other brothers and sisters at home.”
Students were given pamphlets with tips on establishing fire safety plans for their classrooms and homes.
“They did this in their curriculum in grade two and so now this is their first term in grade three and this is like reinforcement and just reminding them about it,” Johnson said.
“So this week we’ll be reinforcing it in the school... but we also want the parents to have a plan at home because that is where we have most of our fire accidents, so that’s what I’m hoping they take away.”
Minister of State for National Security Keith Bell said it was important that regular fire safety activities take place.
“Fire services statistics reveal a notable reduction in fire-related deaths, injuries and property loss over the period January 2011 to August 2011 and the corresponding period for 2012,” he said.
“To date, unfortunately, there were two lives lost in 2012 compared to 12 in 2011 (year-to-date).
“This year, 12 persons suffered injuries compared to 29 for the same period in 2011.”
Bell said the government, in protecting people, is mandated by law to provide a satisfactory level of fire protection, education, response, and detection.
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, our people expect a reliable level of response to incidents.
“The Royal Bahamas Police Fire Services is presently equipped with a small fleet of fire trucks for emergency and domestic response. This fleet has served us well over the past years.
“To help improve conditions, the government has made provisions during this fiscal period for the acquisition of five new fire trucks before the end of February 2013.
“These include four pumpers and one tanker. Three of the units are earmarked for New Providence and two units will be posted in Grand Bahama. Upon arrival, we expect that they will immediately be put into operation for service to our communities.”
Nineteen people died in blazes in 2011. Deleveaux said last year that when those deaths are compared to the number of fires his department has responded to, it is fortunate that more lives were not lost.