Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Fire department needs better equipment

Published:Monday | March 23, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The recent fire at the Riverton City disposal site has exposed how outdated Jamaica's fire department is in fighting certain types of fire. The dump at Riverton City occupies just 120 acres. Given this fact, it is time that the fire department is given more resources to effectively equip itself to tackle fires spread over such a vast expanse.

Aerial firefighting as a technique has been around for quite some time. This technique has proven to be an effective and efficient way of extinguishing fires. Jamaica's fire department needs to look at incorporating this practice and use it alongside the traditional ground-based efforts.

This practice involves the use of a rotorcraft capable of holding gallons and gallons of water, as well as other firefighting retardants such as specially formulated foams and gels.

The relatively small size of these aircraft makes it easy for them to be stored. A possible site to house such aircraft, popularly called water bombers, could be the Tinson Pen aerodrome.

Clearly, the fire department is restricted by a lack of financial resources. The central government should seriously look at increasing the funding given to the country's fire department.

The fire department needs to ensure that it has at its disposal all the latest firefighting arsenal necessary to successful carry out its duties. Let us act now before another fire of such magnitude happens again.

Wayne Campbell

waykam@yahoo.com