Fire wipes out a school building in Uden. Jan. 1, 2015 (Photo: Twitter/@Ranada1967) - Credit: Fire wipes out a school building in Uden. Jan. 1, 2015 (Photo: Twitter/@Ranada1967)
Tuesday, 29 December 2015 - 15:00
Overworked firefighters ask civilians to help on New Year’s Eve
Fire departments across the Netherlands are asking people to try to extinguish small fires themselves before calling emergency responders on New Year’s Eve. Firefighters are often overloaded with calls during end-of-year celebrations, with little time to waste on inconsequential blazes. The idea comes from the regional Haaglanden department, which covers an area north and west of Rotterdam including Den Haag, Zoetermeer and Wassenaar. Haaglanden fire officials say they will respond to hundreds of calls that night, the majority of which are small fires in the street that are annoying, but pose no other harm. In these cases, citizens are asked to dump a bucket of water or sand on the fire, especially if the fires are away from buildings, cars and people. People should only try to do this themselves when there is no danger, the authorities say. When in doubt, civilians should always call the emergency number 1-1-2. Any fires threatening homes and vehicles will be given a high priority from dispatchers. Emergency services in Amsterdam, Groningen, Hollands Midden and Rotterdam have all joined the Haaglanden initiative.