Sat | Apr 29, 2017

Challenges to fire fighting in St Elizabeth

Published:Thursday | May 14, 2015 | 5:00 AMLauntia Cuff

BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth:

With an active firefighting season last year which put a serious strain on the St Elizabeth Fire Department, Senior Deputy Superintendent Conroy Ghans said if the division were to be faced with an incident similar to the Mavis Bank fires, it would pose a serious challenge for the department.

"From all indication, so far since year it has been very active.

"Last week I toured the southern section of the parish and it is very dry, so we anticipate that we will have a very active [season] this year [especially] in June and July," Ghans told The Gleaner.

He said while the department was working with limited human resources, a greater challenge was the fact that there were only two functioning units as the Junction unit and the water tender at the Black River station were down.

"We have four fire units in the parish but to date, only two are functional, and of the two, one is semi-functional. So the strategy that we have in place now, one of the units - the Black River unit - is confined to the flatter areas; the Santa Cruz unit is confined to the more hilly terrain. Junction is without a unit," Ghans explained.

He said that the fire-prevention team had been having one-on-one consultation with farmers to dissuade them from the practice of slash and burn method of land clearing and educating the wider public in relation to fire prevention.