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Jan 19, 2023

Belmopan Fire Station Inaugurated Emergency Dispatch Centre

The U.S Embassy in Belize handed over one hundred and thirteen thousand dollars in furniture and equipment to the National Fire Service in Belmopan. The donation will be used to furnish the newly constructed Belmopan Fire Station which was handed over in May of 2021. Additionally, the fire station’s dispatch centre has been retrofitted with the necessary equipment and trained staff which will greatly improve the department’s emergency response efforts. News Five’s Paul Lopez was in Belmopan this morning. He has the following report.


Orlando Habet

Orlando Habet, Minister of Disaster Risk Management

“When we took office, it was out of all our department’s the most neglected. So, we have been working with that, trying to upgrade not only the facilities but also as we have mentioned before to try to build up the structure within the personnel, because there was a lot of discontent among the personnel.”


Discontent within the National Fire Service over the years has come about from a number of issues, including poor working conditions. Back in May 2021 the United States Embassy in Belize handed over a newly constructed facility to the National Fire Service in Belmopan, valued at one million, seven hundred thousand dollars. It was a vast improvement from the structure that was previously being utilized. But, the fire station was handed over without any furniture.


Colin Gillett

Colin Gillett, Fire Chief, National Fire Service

If you think about this building itself.  You see the chairs; these were the only chairs that were here. So, we brought some of the older chairs that we had before. We have been trying to purchase a lot of furniture and equipment that they needed, but there is only so much you can do with the budget.”


The National Fire Service once again reached out to the U.S Embassy in Belize requesting further assistance to furnish the new building. The embassy agreed and today, U.S Ambassador to Belize Michelle Kwan handed over one hundred and thirteen thousand U.S. dollars in furniture and equipment to the National Fire Service in Belmopan.


Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan, U.S. Ambassador to Belize

I think it was a partnership in 2021 that established the opening of this fire station. It looks brand-new actually. But today’s contributions are about a hundred and thirteen thousand dollars from the U.S Government from Southern Command Humanitarian Assistance Program. And, as you saw from the demonstration, it expedites the quickness of dispatching the right services, to assist with Belizean safety, whether they are injured on the road, a fire, that there are assistance and protecting the safety of Belizean.”


Colin Gillett

Now you get a donation of four container loads of things and all of sudden they are on sofa, they are relaxing. They are comfortable and they can feel rested and relaxed after they return instead of trying to find somewhere to sit or a desk to write on. So, we have actually been working and trying to put in our pound. So, they gave us a set of conference chairs, we bought the conference table. So, we have to do our part to make sure that everything works out.”


Along with the handing over, the National Fire Service inaugurated its dispatch centre which was also developed through partnership with the U.S. Embassy.


Orlando Habet

This dispatch centre is really very important, because as we witnessed today during the demonstration, it facilitates getting the information it also putting back that information to the firemen who are in the trucks but also giving the right information so that they have that location, they already know what type of incident it is. The young lady told us you get, age, sex, and whatever trauma so that the person can alert them. Also, coming back after picking them up they can inform the hospital that is nearest by that the patient is coming in and so we are prepared.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

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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