June 2015 | Fire has consumed another family house at Ohlen last night and again people blaming poor preparedness in the fire service and government not taking things seriously.
“When they called the fire truck, only one small truck came and water they were carrying ran out so they have to go back to their station for more water, and when they returned the house was already consumed”, one resident posted.
This is the same excuse we hear from residents on the Vanuatu Fire Service. In 1998, the Vanuatu Ombudsman put out a public report on an investigation as a result of concerns about the effectiveness of the Vanuatu Fire Brigade in fighting the fire in the case of failure to put out the fire on 6 May 1998 at Paris Shopping, Snoopy’s, Au Peche Mignon and Frank King Tours.
The common issues they face are problems locating the fire hydrant, attaching the hose to the fire hydrant, insufficient amount of water carried on the trucks, getting sufficient pressure from the hydrants, delay in notifying UNELCO of the fire and seeking its assistance with fighting the fire and leaky fire hoses.
Similar incident in April 2014 a fire consumed a family house and car in Port Vila, and the Fire Service unable to attend because they didn’t have any fuel in their trucks and the house was 1,500 metres away.
A concerned public also post of the Ohlen fire incident saying, “The victim should call AVL fire fighters at Bauerfield, they are well equipped and their emergency response are well off, general public have witness their performance which they put out fire that burned snoopy some 5 years ago”
In 2001, the Vanuatu NDMO has identified lack of effective operating capabilities and resources of the Vanuatu National Fire Service was termed as a priority issue for Vanuatu, and to date, not much improvement sighted to service about 66,000 population of Efate.
We don’t hear much about funding interest towards fire service either, and if they do, only by small donation like QBE insurance donated Vt161, 000 two drums of fuel in November in 2014 and this shows lack of planning and management.
Over60Sixty website writes, what the tourism sites don’t tell you – The country is so broke they can’t afford many of the services westerners take for granted. For example, the budget does not adequately cover fuel for police, fire and government vehicles. At a fire a couple of years ago, firemen complained that the ground heat was melting their thongs; and a statement was made last year that if you have a fire away from Vila and suburbs, don’t expect the fire brigade to attend. Similarly, don’t expect the police to answer every complaint.