Growing up as a child and a loyal citizen to the Linden community, I’ve shared a common interest in the welfare of my fellow citizens. I often reminisce about the days when the fire hydrant on the corner of Dageraad and Wismar Avenue, was opened to accommodate small children and residents on an overly hot day.
After residing abroad, on my return to my community, I noticed there is an improvement in our fire response system, in that there was a fire station built in 2007. This improvement fostered my curiosity as to how many hydrants there are in Linden. After conversing with a veteran fire-fighter, a lot of the flaws in our fire response system were pinpointed. He gave me insight into how they go about being successful in the daily challenges they have to face. From the outsider’s perspective fire safety in Linden may seem pretty adequate with a new fire engine and fire station, but although these marvels seem to be a positive, without the adequate resources to carry out the job in its entirety, what do the new engine and fire station contribute to our society?
According to the veteran fighter, in 2010 alone, 9 actual fires called for a rapid response. He said that in order to successfully respond to these emergencies, the Demerara River had to be used as a main source of water. “Why were you guys using the river when there are hydrants?” I asked. He proceeded to explain that in North Mackenzie alone, there are about 10 hydrants and only three of them pump enough water to effectively respond to a fire. He said that every year according to government regulations a test of all hydrants must be conducted and the results recorded.
Taking into consideration, that a new fire station was built and tests of the hydrants are done annually, it would be expected that the government would be able to perform proper tests and surveys and they would have adequate information on the basis of which they could make the necessary changes. However, these are yet to be made.
When the fighters have to resort to the river as a source of water to do their job, there is a danger that the fire will spread. Government’s main priority should be to ensure the welfare of the residents in the community. Of the 9 fires that occurred in 2010, 6 of them belong to the Block 22 community which is the poorest community and has no hydrants. If government’s priority lies in the equality and the welfare of our citizens, then why are there no hydrants in Block 22?
In relation to fires, educating our residents as a whole about fire prevention comes first. We need to create a system where our fighters are able to respond and react with adequate resources capable of completing the job.