Posted: Friday, January 20, 2023. 11:51 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: The U.S. Southern Command Humanitarian Assistance Program has donated US$113,000 worth of supplies to the National Fire Service, Belmopan station, to “better equip the firefighters to train, plan and respond to emergencies.”
This includes needed furniture, appliances, tools, and generators to outfit several fire stations across Belize.
U.S. Ambassador to Belize Michelle Kwan stated, “Belize’s brave firefighters risk their lives in the service of others on a regular basis; they work in very stressful, physically demanding, and frequently life-threatening situations. There is a lot of self-sacrifice involved in this type of work, and while many of us run away from danger, firefighters are running toward it to save the lives of others.” In appreciation of that work, she added, the U.S. is supporting the ability to respond and the quality of life of these critical first responders.
Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, Orlando Habet, recorded the Government’s gratitude on behalf of Belizeans: “It is of utmost importance for us that our officers are well equipped to perform the mandate of the Department, which is to protect lives and property.” He added that the Fire Service is piloting an Emergency Medical Service in the Cayo District – Belmopan, San Ignacio/Santa Elena, and Benque Viejo – with U.S. support from the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI).
The dispatch center has officially been in operation since last May, and according to Habet, “is cutting down our response times to both fire and medical emergencies,” noting that there are more calls for the latter to date than the former.
The Ministry continues to seek assistance for the building of a permanent Fire Service headquarters in Belize City, most likely on the Chetumal/Lake Independence Boulevard, as well as refurbishing stations in Dangriga, Punta Gorda, and San Ignacio/Santa Elena.
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