THE Papua New Guinea Fire Service last week launched its ‘fire awareness week’ around the country to warn the public about the dangers of fire.
The awareness week was launched at the Hilton Hotel in Port Moresby on Nov 11.
Minister responsible for PNG Fire Service Saki Soloma who officiated at the launching ceremony said he was happy to know that the fire service continued to perform its mandated functions despite the challenges faced each year and the launching of the fire awareness week indicates fire service’s determination to serving the people of Papua New Guinea.
“The report I am getting from the fire service is very encouraging and a sign of a functioning organisation.
“Given the growing density and complexity of our communities, given the rise of extreme weather patterns in recent years, and given the higher expectation of our society, firefighting and rescue operations have become more complicated and challenging.
“These challenges have to be overcome by continuously engaging with the communities to understand the dangers and the levels of preparedness,” Soloma said.
He said one effective strategy to combat the ever-increasing risks of fires is through ongoing awareness in the communities.
He applauded the fire service for launching this year’s fire awareness week and investing the organization’s limited resources through this non-response and proactive strategy fire emergencies.
Soloma stressed also that from the National Government’s point of view, the work the fire service do here is very vital to create investor confidence in our economy.
“Investors bring in revenue for the government which is used to provide public goods and services. A robust and viable economy will contribute more towards strengthening of other institutions in the economy and bring about inclusive social and economic development,” Mr Soloma said.
Chief Fire Officer Bill Roo said this year’s fire awareness week was marked by a number of activities which were related to the theme: ‘Talk Fire Safety- Secure Your Environment’.
“The 2019 theme is encouraging Papua New Guineans to be more proactive in discussing and putting into practice fire safety tips that can create environments that are safer from the harmful effects of fire.
“It is very important to remember that all disasters caused by fire are preventable. All we need to do is to take heed of safety messages issued by the PNG Fire Service.
“Each year, many homes, factories, offices, schools, hospitals, shops are burnt to the ground and properties worth millions of kina including lives are lost each year to fire,” Roo said.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer – Operations Lua Roa said the week long programme was under taken at all the fourteen fire stations across the country.
“All fire station show cased different types of firefighting and rescue equipment at the station and on board fire appliances (trucks).
“People got the opportunity to visit our fire stations and learn more about fire safety tips and how to mitigate or avoid fires at home or place of work.
“Fire fighters were on hand to show-case the different types of firefighting and rescue equipment kept at the fire stations and onboard fire appliances (engines).
“Firefighters also demonstrate basic firefighting techniques on how to handle a fire extinguisher to extinguish different classes of fire.
“It’s important to think about your everyday activities and whether or not it could start a fire.
“Fire Service records show that there were fatal fires reported every year and, in this year, (2019) alone, nine lives were lost with also millions of kina work of properties been destroyed. Fire investigateion reports show that these fires were related to electrical and carelessness as well,” Lua said.
- Article and pictures supplied by PNG Fire Service Public Relations Officer David George
Sacred pride of being a soldier
By ALEXANDER NARA
ITS history is buried deep in time within the traditions of military lifestyle, dating back to early years of organised warfare.
Drums were beaten in a special tempo at sunset with the lowering of the flag to warn troops to break off fighting as darkness fell.
The beating also warns outlying troops to disengage contact with the enemy and retreat back to the confines of the encampment for the barracks gate is closing.
During the revolutionary war, the US Army sounded a bugle at sunset with the lowering of the flag and closing of the gates to mark the end of a day of combat.
The French were the first to use it during the time of the Crusades and originally called ‘Watch Setting’ and was initiated at the setting of the sun by the firing of a single round from the evening gun.
Night sentries are posted and notified to start challenging until sunrise, which means the gun gate and the night guard is to “halt” and demand identification of anyone coming near or into the gates and also tell rank and file to go to their quarters and stay there.
In 1690, an order was given to the army of James II of England where troops were ordered to beat drums and parade the streets, to mark the end of a fighting day.
This was then the birth of ‘beating retreat,’ many times referred to as ‘Sunset,’ originating from the beating of drums.
History so acknowledged that also at the last light of day, both sides come out to collect their dead and fallen comrades together to a certain ground where last respects were accorded.
It is a time of stand still as the flag is lowered.
Fallen soldiers were carried on shoulders from the battle grounds to pile together at a certain special block within the barracks, with their blood dripping from fresh wounds to ensure a ‘decent’ burial for a ‘pal’.
The fresh dripping blood of those fallen comrades are signified by the Red SAS that ran from right to the left of an army’s warrant officer.
The military parade grounds hold to this day a very special history as the symbol representing that hallowed ground, the Sanctuary of fallen soldiers.
Remembrance and respect are also accorded to all unknown soldiers that were never retrieved and given a proper burial.
Many are still out there amid the deep valleys, ridges, jungles, swamps and the seashores where they lost their lives.
The sunset had been and is the sole guardian of this sacred pride in the life of a soldier and glowed with sanctity when flags were lowered and silence is observed to pay respect to fallen comrades before the final setting of the sun
It is therefore forbidden to walk on military parade grounds for they are deemed hallowed and are respected as such. – Defence Media