Minister of Home Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, is appealing to drivers to respect the beacons and the sirens of emergency vehicles.
He was speaking from the scene of an accident involving two vehicles at the junction of Tweedside Road and Government Hill, St Michael, on Friday. The driver of a fire truck, in order to avoid a collision, came to rest on the grassy area at the bottom of the hill, but it is now out of commission.
“There are a lot of near misses by emergency vehicles responding to emergency situations where persons either because their windows are up, or their radios are blaring … they can’t hear or even sometimes they see it and they still try to force an advantage,” he said.
“I am making it real clear I am not referring to this situation, but generally…”, he added, saying he spoke to both Chief Fire Officer Errol Maynard and Police Commissioner Richard Boyce about the issue.
“When an emergency vehicle is proceeding under beacon and siren, respect that vehicle. Pull to your left, allow the vehicle to pass safely. Save yourself, save the persons that are responding and the persons who the vehicle are going to.”
Initial reports indicate at least three people may have sustained injuries at the scene.
Abrahams left to check on the status of the fire officers. Two were injured and sought treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, complaining of leg and chest injuries. Two others, who did not report any injuries, were taken to Sandy Crest Medical Centre for evaluation.
The fire tender was on the way to a blaze at Reed Street, The City, when the incident occurred.
Maynard said they received the call around 11:32 a.m., and after the accident, another was dispatched from Worthing, Christ Church.
He echoed Abrahams’ sentiments.
“Once the vehicles are on the road, we expect the public to yield as much as possible to allow them safe passage,” he said.
A derelict structure at Reed Street, said to be used by “paros”, was destroyed in the blaze. Proprietor of Tim’s Restaurant, Victor Springer, whose storage room is next door, said he quickly attached two hoses and doused the flames as nearby residents also chipped in.
In the meantime, the fire service is down one vehicle. Abrahams said there were two on order, but they were not sitting in a showroom and had to be customised for the size of Barbadian roads as well as the fact that we drive on the right. (SAT)