In addressing concerns surrounding events held at the public beach in Treasure Cay, the Abaco Crash Fire Rescue (ACFR) department wants to make it clear to the Oversight Committee that they will not respond to emergencies at venues were alcohol is served and promoted for the safety of the volunteers who staff the department.
At recent events there have been incidences of extreme violence involving cutlasses, bottles and other items considered dangerous objects. Volunteers of the ACFR felt very unsafe responding and have expressed great concerns about returning to this venue again.
After such incidences, the Department was assured that no alcohol would be served at this beach and all events would be wrapped up by sunset; however, it appears that is not the case.
The Chief, Colin D. Albury, has made a decision that when such events are held the fire department will not be responding to emergencies at venues where alcohol is served and promoted.
“This decision is made for the safety of the unpaid volunteers that graciously put their lives at risk at all times and I do not deem it necessary to expose these volunteers to unnecessary potential violence that can be avoided,” stated Mr. Albury.
Despite being told that the companies that promote and sell alcoholic beverages are responsible companies, the facts bear out that 95% of the car accidents in the early hours of the morning are alcohol related. Mr. Albury noted that it seems quite irresponsible that these venues sell and promote the consumption of alcoholic beverages throughout the day until midnight after which inebriating young people then drive the highways to return home; a danger to themselves and others.
When accidents occur after these events in the early morning hours it is the Fire Department that must wake up and deal with a situation created by the selling and promotion of alcohol. There is no taxi system in place at 2 o’clock in the morning that will visit these venues to drive inebriated youth home. The Fire Chief questioned how many parents will be there to be sure their children arrive home safely?
It is suggested that the companies that are responsible for the event need to hire off-duty EMTs, off-duty police and security officers to minimize the safety issues, and should accept all responsibilities at their events.
Additionally it is the responsibility of the committee for the oversight of this property to ensure whoever uses the public beach takes care of these issues.
If the concern is raising money for the facility, there are other and better ways to raise money that to create events that lead to excessive drunkenness and become powder kegs of violence, suggested Mr. Albury.
It is also suggested to the Oversight Committee that there be zero tolerance for glass bottles at the public beach as they end up used as weapons or are left broken and create injuries.
“Therefore, I tell you this at the end of the day, I, the chief of the Abaco Crash Fire Rescue, ultimately has to answer to the families of the volunteers of this department. What am I supposed to tell the families when we respond to these events and a stray bullet hits one of the volunteers? These events that are sponsored with the promotion and selling of alcohol only light the fuse for potential powder kegs,” Stated Mr. Albury.
There are many ways the Oversight Committee can have a wonderful, safe and fun family event that do not need the involvement of alcohol, suggested Mr. Albury.
“So I ask you, as a committee member, would you take your children to that event? Would you be participate in that event? Are you willing to drive the same road with the person who left that event at twelve or one O’clock in the morning inebriated and driving on the highway at excessive speeds? Is this risk acceptable to you as a committee? Remember you allowed such things to take place. Let your conscience be your guide and do as I do and think safety at all times,” said Mr. Albury