3 Jul 2013

Fiji's ex-fire chief says Pacific fire safety leading others

3:12 pm on 3 July 2013

The former chief of Fiji's fire authority says some aspects of fire safety in the Pacific are ahead of Australia and New Zealand.

Mark Reid, who is now a consultant for the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission, says fires and deaths due to fire in Fiji are 50 percent of what they used to be three or four years ago.

He says simple problems have been solved with education, and speaking to different levels of the community about how to properly handle everyday dangers like mosquito coils and candles.

Mr Reid says in the past Pacific fire services have been weak, with little funding and resources, but the work in small communities means improvement has been rapid.

"A lot of best practice is occurring here in the Pacific region, because countries are smaller, programmes can be implemented quicker and we can see results. It's a two-way street. There's a lot that Australia and New Zealand are learning about what's happening in the Pacific and I've got to say in some areas, the Pacific is far ahead in some aspects of what's happening in Australia and New Zealand."

Mark Reid of the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission