Fire Brigade calls for private-sector help
Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter
On Tuesday, August 12, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica donated $3 million to the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB).
And while he was grateful for the intervention, Errol Mowatt, acting commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, used the opportunity to plead with other members of the private sector for assistance to help the entity to respond effectively.
"It's a win-win situation. If we had ... nine other companies in Jamaica who were prepared to join Petrojam in donating $3 million, it could make the lives of the firefighters much better," he said. "It would be a greater sense of accomplishment because I am sure that we're using the funds donated by Petrojam in a productive manner ... and it will lead to the efficiency of the Jamaica Fire Brigade," he said. He noted the staff complement of the brigade is about 2,000 and the allocation budgeted for training alone is less than $9 million.
"Those of you who are good at mathematics can do the math for me, how much we will be able to spend on each member of staff," he said. Leon Jarrett, manager of safety, environment, quality assurance and security at Petrojam, expressed similar sentiments. He called on "hoteliers, factory owners, the supermarket owners and other private enterprises" to make use of the opportunities provided by the Jamaica Fire Brigade to "make their operations sustainably safe".
"In short I am saying, sponsor something," he said. "That's one of the main ways that you can cooperate with them." He commended the members of the JFB for their dedication and commitment to fulfilling their mandate of 'saving lives and protecting properties'.
"We hope other organisations will join us in helping the Jamaica Fire Brigade, because, in the end, it is to the benefit of all Jamaicans." The money will be used to implement training for JFB personnel in auto extrication, confined-space rescue and urban search and rescue. A portion will also be used for the JFB's public education campaign.
Petrojam and the JFB have had a long-standing relationship. This includes the facilitation of the training of fire personnel in-house, as well as the provision of Petrojam personnel or equipment to assist with fighting petroleum fires. As recently as 2011, Petrojam sponsored members of the brigade to travel to the United States in an exchange.