EDITORIAL: Burn permit a step in the right direction

Persons who wish to use an open flame outside of their homes to have a bonfire which could generate a situation where the public’s health and safety would be of concern, will now be required to purchase a Burn Permit from the Barbados Fire Service, at a cost of $150.

Members of the public have been asked to note that this regulation falls under the revised Fire Service (Fees) Order 2020, which will take effect from Wednesday, April 1. Under this Order, persons who require such a permit for commercial purposes will be required to pay that cost annually.

BFS explains new Order

Now the Barbados Fire Service (BFS) has sought to explain further new aspects of the revised Fire Service (Fees) Order 2020, stating that under the new Order, Permits to Burn do not relate to domestic activities among family and friends at their homes. For example, it does not apply to backyard barbecues. In a statement issued by the BFS to explain the Order, it was noted that the Burn Permit applies to burning in situations where persons in the public domain could be affected and their safety put at risk.

Indeed, this is a step in the right direction. For too long in Barbados, various advocacy groups and individuals have been calling for some measure or regulation to be put in place to address the whole matter of indiscriminate burning of refuse in communities in the open across Barbados. It is an age-old practice that we can do without, given the many challenges it brings to those with respiratory problems, sinus issues and the list goes on. In general, it is not good for anyone to ingest the smoke that comes from any bonfire and certainly not all through the day or night.

False alarms addressed

Also, in addition to this new measure, the Fire Service has noted that a fee of $250 will also be imposed for repeat responses by the Service to false alarms, due to malfunctioning and poorly maintained fire alarm systems. Repeat responses to false alarms, the Fire Service notes, applies to instances where the BFS is required to respond to a facility more than twice a month, as a result of malfunctioning or poorly maintained fire alarm systems. According to the new Order, on the third occasion and every time after that in the same month, the occupier/owner will be charged.

Indeed, it is time we take more proactive steps to ensure that persons regard fire safety and public health. Of course, the issue of enforcement will come to the fore and systems must be put in place to ensure that those who breach the regulations are firmly dealt with. But again, after such a long call, this is a step in the right direction and the Barbados Fire Service is indeed on the right track. All we can do now is appeal to the good senses of Barbadians to comply with what has been issued, as the month of April rolls around.

Barbados Advocate

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