The Guyana Fire Service is moving to align its services with international best practices. From November, the Fire Service will be providing an Emergency Medical Service.
Speaking with the Government Information Agency (GINA), Chief Fire Officer Mr. Marlon Gentle said that in the initial phase, the Emergency Medical Service will cover from Timehri, East Bank Demerara to Enmore on the East Coast of Demerara.
Gentle said the service will be a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Public Security, with the Guyana Fire Service as the executing agency, and the Ministry of Public Health.
As many as five ambulances will be utilised. Fourteen persons have been trained by the Ministry of Public Health as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). Gentle said he expects that the fourteen EMTs will merge with those attached to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation to form the Region Four unit.
The Fire Chief explained that a specialist in emergency medicine and an emergency medical technician will oversee the day-to-day operations of the EMTs.
Other support services such as repairs and maintenance of equipment and the ambulances will be done by staff of the Fire Service.
The GFS also plans to establish Ambulance, Marine and eventually Air Ambulance Units.
According to Gentle, the Region Four Unit will be used as a pilot. “You know sometimes when we roll out these plans; maybe there are issues that will come along the way that maybe we will have to adjust to accommodate. That is why we are using Region Four, which is the most populated by far to do the pilot project,” he said.
Once the pilot phase is completed, other areas will be included in a phased approach, including the East Berbice area and parts of Region Three up to Parika, Gentle explained.
Training is currently being conducted at the Project Dawn facility, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara.
The Fire Chief said that the intention is to equip all of the Fire Stations in the targeted areas with ambulances and staff to man them on a 24 hour basis.
Initially, ambulances will be based at the Central Fire Station Stabroek, the Albertown and Diamond Fire Stations.
The existing 912 Emergency calling system will be used and protocols for use of the services and how the public can benefit are currently being worked out by officials.
Once the new service is rolled out, at least twenty ambulances and one hundred and sixty staff are expected to be part of team.