By Latrishka Thomas
The Antigua and Barbuda Fire Services has been earmarked to receive a welcome boost to its inventory, after fire officers had to perform their duties with limited resources last year.
Fire Chief Elvis Weaver told the 2020 end-of-year press conference in January, that his department has been affected by diminished resources – an issue made worse by the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, speaking on the matter yesterday, he said things could be looking better in the near future, with a much-needed donation from counterparts in the US.
As it relates to trucks, Weaver said: “I’ve been in dialogue with a group from the diaspora. Just last week I had a talk with them. They are planning to make a very big donation to the fire department. We know how it is when it comes to trucks. Fire trucks are the most expensive vehicles in Antigua and the definitely would have to have the finance to finance it. So, they are people in the diaspora who are willing to donate.”
He specifically mentioned that a New York- group out of should be donating a container of equipment.
Despite the struggles faced over the past months, Weaver said the department continues to do its best to keep above water with four operating trucks.
“Well, we are doing fairly well. As I always say we can always do better with new modern trucks but as it stands right now, we are covered. There’s a truck in All Saints, there’s one in Johnson’s Point and there are two at St John’s Fire Station and we have been coping very well. God has been good two us,” he said.
However, he revealed that three trucks are presently “down and in need of repair” — one for the Johnson’s Point Fire Station and two for the St John’s Fire Station.
“We are awaiting parts for them but otherwise we are still coping with what we have,” Weaver added.
The Fire Chief also urged the public to be prepared for what they are anticipating to be a hotter-than-normal summer period, starting around April through to August.
“From what I’m seeing so far this year seems like it’s going to be a very hot summer and we expecting the usual brush fires. There are some areas in Antigua where the hills always seem to be on fire in the summer months.
“I know at this time when it’s very dry, farmers and so on tend to want to clear the land, they want to light fires. We are appealing to farmers and to everyone who wants to light fires that they must come to the fire department to seek a fire permit and we will go and inspect the area to make sure that you can safely burn,” he said as he explained that responding to said calls could be a waste of resources.