Barbados recorded fewer fires up to November this year than it did last year, but the number of vehicular accidents that claimed lives or caused serious injury has increased to 88 this year, compared with 48 for the same period last year.

These figures were revealed by Acting Chief Fire Officer with the Barbados Fire Service (BFS), Errol Maynard, in his 2015 Christmas message.

However, while there have been significant reductions in the number of fires, Mr. Maynard said the BFS was still not comfortable with the numbers.

Overall, the BFS responded to 2,098 incidents up to the end of November, compared to 2,777 for 2014.??Of this number, there were 75 residential fires compared with 93 last year. There was also a drop in rubbish fires, with 338 recorded this year compared with 349 last year.

A further decline in grass and cane fires was witnessed: 837 grass fires were recorded at the end of November compared with 1,382 last year; and 59 cane fires this year compared with 133 in 2014.

However, there was a slight increase in the number of commercial building fires, with the number rising from 15 at the end of November last year to 20 for the corresponding period this year.

???We believe this reduction is not only as a result of our being out there, being more vigilant and executing a more focused education programme, but we also believe that it is as a result of you the public listening to our messages and accepting your individual responsibility as good citizens of Barbados,??? Mr. Maynard stated, while imploring citizens to do the same over the Christmas season.

In addition, the Fire Chief urged the public to adopt a defensive driving posture, as 88 vehicular accidents resulting in significant injury and loss of life were recorded up to the end of November this year, 40 more than last year.

???We are encouraging you to play it safe by not drinking and driving. Play it safe by driving within the speed limits and adopt a defensive driving posture,??? he stressed.

While giving business owners and managers a passing grade for adhering to the law and regulations to ensure their workers and customers were safe, Mr. Maynard also urged those who were falling behind in their responsibilities to step up to the plate.

???Do not allow the joys off the season to blur your minds to safety. Do not for a few gains endanger the life and well-being of our families, friends and customers. Do not allow a season of joy to turn to a life of regret,??? he pleaded.

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