Fire prevention hampered by weak laws

The Fire Department says its bid to prevent fires is hampered by weak and insufficient laws.

Corporal Quincy George of the fire prevention unit told the Patrol Duty programme on Observer Radio last night that the fire department can do little about structures that are built without fire safety in mind.

“Lets say that you start a business and first it was a hotel and you change it to a restaurant, now the time fire protection system will have to be different than a hotel but we cannot go in and say that we are going to close you down unless you conform to these requirements because at this moment there is no legislation that actually governs these types of buildings in Antigua.”

George says in legislation currently being drafted will make it mandatory for smoke detectors in homes.

“We advocate every single day when it comes to that, you must have smoke detectors in your house. We spoke about enforcement earlier one of the things we will enforce when we have that legislation in place is that households must have working fire detectors in the house and inspections will be done to make sure that they are up to date because we care about you.”

George says new and improved fire laws will be a major benefit in firefighting.

“Its going to be beneficial towards the fire prevention unit, the fire brigade and to the Antigua and Barbuda economy because fire does a great amount of damage, it carries out your insurance rates because now insurance has to cover building that have been burnt and now you will have to pay more for that insurance. Businesses that were profitable will now not be in business anymore and persons working there would have lost their job due to that so it will be beneficial to all of us to have legislation dealing with these matters.”

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