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Ramkissoon: Give workers the proper gear

Sunday, March 27, 2016

President of the T&T Fire Service Association Leo Ramkissoon says workers in the Forestry Division need to be commended for their hard work and dedication in the fight to eradicate bush fires. 

He said it was “really sad” to learn of the death of senior forester Keith Campbell and the injured workers. 

“It is a real heartbreaker that one of the workers has perished and the association sends its condolences to the family of the victim and the injured workers. It is really sad.”

Ramkissoon said forestry workers and others who assist in the eradication drive were self-motivated. 

In an interview yesterday, he said, “They have minimal equipment in comparison to the T&T Fire Service. They have minimal firefighting gear.”

He said he believed that if Campbell was wearing the correct personal protective equipment and clothing, it may have helped in preserving his life. 

“Clearly he would not have sustained that amount of burns had he been wearing the gear.”

Campbell was said to have suffered over 70 per cent burns over his body.

However, Ramkissoon said if those workers were being asked to assist fire officers in fighting fires at the forest level, they ought to be given the right equipment.

He said, “Every year I see them go up there and they have these little water tanks on their backs and they’re trying. It is amazing to see the efforts these guys are making.”

The Fire Service has so far responded to over 400 bush fire calls for the past three months.

He said bush fires covered the Northern Range and also affected central and southern Trinidad. 

He made an appeal to those who may be involved in setting fires, whether they were planters, hunters or those who practicing the slash and burn technique to refrain from doing so because it was illegal and unethical.

“To the public, I ask that you all make an effort to become aware of what how your actions are affecting others and the environment. We ought to be a lot more cautious as to how we go about our daily routine.”

Ramkissoon said not enough was being done to raise public awareness and also called for amendments and enforcement of the law. (RKR)