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Dec 31, 2004

Fire officials remind of holiday dangers

Story PictureA popular way to bring in the New Year is with fireworks, but just in case you didn’t know, they are illegal. But fireworks aren’t the only cause of fire this time of year and today Patrick Jones spoke with the National Fire Service about some of the risks around the holidays.

Patrick Jones Reporting
2004 was a costly year for homeowners who racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses due to fires. Not to mention the untold amount of grief caused by the loss of life in at least three incidents. Operations Officer with the National Fire Service Michael Middleton says there are some basic things that people can do to stay safe over the New Year?s celebrations.

Michael Middleton, Operations Officer, National Fire Service
?The best way for people to keep themselves safe from fire I think is to basically stay focused on what they are doing, especially in their cooking. That?s one of the main things people are doing at this time.?

Patrick Jones
?Now stay focus. What exactly do you mean??

Michael Middleton
?I just think people tend to start cooking, then they get relaxed and maybe fall asleep and stuff like that and maybe go outside and talk and forget about the food cooking.?
And while the kitchen is a hot spot for fires, Middleton says revellers need to also celebrate safely.

Michael Middleton
?Well the best way to be safe from fire crackers is not to use them any at all because we all know that they are illegal.?

Patrick Jones
?Over this holiday will the Fire Service be on watch, on stand by??

Michael Middleton
?We are always on watch, not only over the holidays.?

Officials say the National Fire Service gave good account of itself over the last twelve months, despite heavy criticisms at times during the year. Some of the most vivid pictures came from a fire in October in Belize City, when it looked like everything that could go wrong, did. Middleton says it?s all in a day?s work.

Michael Middleton
?I would say things do happen. The Fire Service is not perfect. I am sure there were some mistakes made out there. But as I said we go back to the drawing board and we try to make the adjustments so that when a fire comes about the same thing does not happen.?

?Definitely I would say that was a bad day. Not only because it burned a house totally down and stuff like that. But we had our little faults out there, burst hoses and stuff like that. So I would definitely say that was a bad night.?

And to ensure that the most appropriate strategies are applied to any situation, Middleton says the public needs to work with the Department.

Michael Middleton
?The first thing people must try to do is try to get in contact with the Fire Department. Most of the time people try to put out the fire and when they find that they can?t out it, then they try to call the Fire Department. By that time it might be too late.?

And just in case you don?t already know the quickest way to get in touch with the Fire Service is to call 90 from any telephone. It?s a free call and Middleton says it could save lives and property. Patrick Jones for News 5.

And if you really cannot imagine your New Years Eve without fireworks, there will be a fireworks display in Hattieville tonight at ten thirty at the Football field.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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