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Jan 11, 2017

A Donation for the Fire Service

Belize was gifted three command vehicles by the Japanese Government. The official handing over ceremony took place in the City where Minister of NEMO Edmond Castro accepted on behalf of Government. The vehicles will be handed over to three departments who will use them as on-site command centers during emergency situations. News Five’s Andrea Polanco attended the handing over ceremony and spoke with the recipients to find out how these units will be used in Belize.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The Government of Japan handed over three “mobile command centers” to Minister of NEMO Edmond Castro.The donation is made throughthe Japan Non-Project Grant Aid for Provision of Industrial Products to help Belize in its disaster management and risk reduction work. The three command vehicles are valued at over one point eight million Belize dollars. NEMO, Fire and Police Departments will each receive one command vehicle. Minister Castro says that the spanking new shiny state of the art assets will be used in times of natural disasters and will be deployed around the country when needed.


Edmond Castro

Edmond Castro, Minister of NEMO

“In areas from my Ministry, and I know the Police, I think it is one of the best pieces of equipment we could have. In terms of a disaster, in areas whereby, like in the recent hurricane, we have staff out working and there is no communication because the power lines are down; no running water; no telephone service, these trucks are equipped with bathroom; they are equipped with power outlets; refrigeration; there is meeting hall that you can do your work from. So, we will be able to communicate with the rest of the country and to let the rest of the country knows what is going on in those depressed areas or disaster areas.”


Fire Chief Ted Smith says that the command vehicle that his department is getting is the first of its kind. The fully equipped mobile command center will make fire officials’ response to fires and other disasters more effective.


Ted Smith

Ted Smith, Fire Chief

“We will utilize ours in large scale situations to have that command structure on the ground to provide leadership, command and control.”


Andrea Polanco

“When you say “command structure” talk to us about how exactly you guys will put it to use? When we go in there what do we see and how will all of that be used?”


Ted Smith, Fire Chief

“Well, the vehicle will be outfitted with the necessary communication and the necessary maps for the City and in particular the urban areas of the country so that whichever urban area it is deployed to- they can function; they will know where the nearest water sources are, the hydrants, the design of the particular area. Within that structure, you know within an emergency there are a number of agency that operate within a crisis situation. So, what we can have here is representation from all those agencies within that command structure. So, if the fire service needs an ambulance at such point, we don’t have to send a runner like that happens now. We can simply inform the representative within that command structure that we need XY at AB and they can communicate with their people and send those resources here.”



Is this the first of its kind that you would have, you’d say?”


Ted Smith

“Yes. It is the first of its kind. Prior to this, we used an ordinary – most of the time it would be operations officer pick or my pickup would be used as the command structure. But that same utility vehicle would have to be deployed for logistics purposes and so the command center would not be visible in most cases.”


At the end of this month, the manufacturing company will be in Belize to train the three teams of NEMO, the Fire and Police Departments in the operations, maintenance and servicing of the three units. The “mobile command centers” are some of the most advanced models made and assembled in Japan. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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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1 Response for “A Donation for the Fire Service”

  1. cd says:

    This is insane. The fire service does not need a command vehicle to ‘command’ an incident where only one fire truck arrives to battle a fire that cannot be contained due to ineffective equipment and personnel anyway. There are not enough real fire trucks! Belize needs more firetrucks and the staff to operate them.

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