Minister of Home Affairs and Information, Wilfred Abrahams and Chief Fire Officer, Errol Maynard in discussion during a tour of the fire station at the Grantley Adams International Airport, yesterday. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Persons requiring emergency medical assistance may soon be able to call one number to access police, fire and ambulance services.

This comes as Government explores the option of having a unified despatch system for its emergency services, to avoid confusion about which number they should call at critical times.

This was disclosed by Minister of Home Affairs and Information, Wilfred Abrahams, following a tour of the Bridgetown, Worthing and Airport Fire Stations on Tuesday.

He was joined by Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Curtis Gilkes; Chief Fire Officer, Errol Maynard, and other officials.

Mr. Abrahams noted that most people did not know the individual emergency numbers for the fire, police and ambulance services, and having a unified system would simplify the process for all.

In addition, he said it would also release trained emergency personnel to return to active duty. “Right now, our system has trained fire officers, police officers, and trained ambulance service people answering the phone to do despatch. That is pretty much a waste of manpower,” Mr. Abrahams contended.

He noted that Government was therefore seeking to harmonise the operations to get the best out of the structure and make the process more effective.

Mr. Maynard welcomed the likely introduction of a 911 system, noting that it would allow members of the public to call a common number to reach first responders when they are in need of assistance.

He also thanked fire officers for their continued service during challenging times over the last two years and noted that he was looking forward to things outlined by Government.

During the tour, Minister Abrahams listened to the concerns of fire officers; outlined measures that could be employed to address them, and received a general overview of the state of preparedness of the Barbados Fire Service.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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