Forty per cent of buildings inspected were not compliant with fire regulations – GFS

The Guyana Fire Service’s Fire Prevention Department last year conducted inspections of 608 government buildings and 2,476 private buildings and found that 40% of them were not compliant with requirements.

A release from the GFS said that these inspections were done to ascertain the level of fire prevention mechanisms employed in these buildings; and at the same time to inform owners and occupiers of their duty to ensure that basic requirements for fire safety of the premises had been met.

The GFS said that these inspections that were conducted on premises in the different Regions revealed the key areas where owners had failed to adhere to basic requirements for fire safety.

These included the misuse of gas stations for fun and frolic activities; no fire suppression systems being provided; no fire alarm system being provided; poor electrical installation; unlicensed operation of business (restaurants, bars, clubs and apartments); playing of music without the relevant music and dancing certificates.

They also found derelict buildings occupied by vagrants; change of occupancy of premises; hazardous use of fire in open space or otherwise to get rid of waste vegetation; illegal operation of generators; illegal storage of petroleum products and other breaches of the petroleum regulations. According to the release, the Guyana Fire Service reiterated its concerns about the large number of derelict and unsafe buildings in the city.

It said that these structures continue to present a real threat to life and limb and to other properties nearby should there be an outbreak of fire. They also place the lives of fire fighters at risk.

The GFS identified 40 structures and noted that very little effort was being made by the agency responsible for the removal of these structures.

In 2013, some former derelict buildings were destroyed by fire; while some property owners heeded the call of the Fire Service to demolish their derelict and unsafe property.

One such building owner who made efforts to demolish his structure was the owner of the old Bedford building, situated at Bourda and Robb streets, the release said.

However, his efforts were impeded due to vendors who sell in close proximity to the building, which prevented a safe demolition.

The GFS has recommended that the City Engineer’s Department assist in the safe demolition of this building. The GFS also urged that other delinquent property owners follow this right-minded civic duty displayed by this owner to rid the society of such hazardous threats.

Meanwhile, Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee, recently met with Chief Fire Officer Marlon Gentle and senior officers of the Guyana Fire Service on January 24, 2014 to discuss the status of recommendations made by the Disciplined Forces Commission in 2004, for the improvement of the Fire Service.

A separate release from the GFS said that this session was in keeping with the promises made by the minister, when he gave his perspectives for the year, at his press briefing on January 4, at the Guyana Police Force Training Complex.

It said that participating in these discussions were the Permanent Secretary of the Home Affairs Ministry, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer, the Divisional Officers in charge of Administration, Operations and ‘B’ Division and other senior officers of the Guyana Fire Service.

The 23 recommendations which were made by the Disciplined Forces Commission were reviewed and healthy discussions and presentations regarding the present status and the way forward were conducted. At the end of the session, it was agreed that these recommendations will be given high priority in order to bring about a speedy implementation of the recommendations.

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