Minister Lake says contingency plan needed to fight hillside fires. Meeting to be called with key stakeholders this week

Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake said on Sunday that a contingency plan is needed in order to fight hillside bush fires.

The Minister’s observation came after experiencing first-hand the hillside bush fire between the districts of Middle Region and Sucker Garden last Friday that left home owners worried about their properties.

Minister Lake added that the personnel from Ministry VROMI, Fire Department, Police and Excavator operators, did a great job under tough conditions for a period of seven hours, and commends them for their professional response to protect life and property from the blaze.

“The hillside bush fire was a learning experience for all emergency services who dealt with the situation last Friday. A structural plan is needed to properly deal with bush fires as well as the possibility of a fire in an area of close building density such as the hillside in Cay Hill.

“We don’t need to wait on another fire to start putting things in place. Some of the issues that came to light were accessibility, fire hydrants, and water reservoirs.

“First we need to identify the areas in the country that could be prone to a bush fire and carry out an assessment of the threat level to homes and other properties. We have to be pro-active rather than re-active. We have to have a play-book in place that each emergency service knows exactly what actions and steps will be taken and by whom.

“I will be calling a meeting this week to start the discussion with respect to a contingency plan so our emergency response teams are ahead when an event like this occurs again in the future. Everybody performed well, but if we have certain infrastructure in place it makes everybody’s job easier. Residents safety is our number one priority,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Sunday.

Minister Lake added that the input of land owners will also be necessary in drafting the contingency plan.