Sun | Apr 23, 2017

Keeping the fire-prevention message alive

Published:Tuesday | October 28, 2014 | 10:00 AM
Warren Malcolm

There are some disasters that can be scientifically predicted; unfortunately, fire is not one such disaster. However, while we cannot forecast the occurrence of a fire, we can most definitely take steps in preventing one.

There is a tendency for some people to believe that it is a waste of resources to spend so much time and effort on a phenomenon that has not yet occurred. However, the main focus of the Fire Prevention Unit is to fix the potential occurrence of a fire before it actually happens. This is because on a daily basis we experience the trauma and devastation that each person experiences after a fire has occurred. We, therefore, seek to reduce these occurrences by engaging members of the public; business and residential communities alike by providing the necessary training and information on basic fire-safety precautions. It is our hope that in so doing we will be able to reduce the number of fire-related incidents that result in the destruction of properties and the loss of lives.

The Fire Prevention and Public Relations section has embarked on a number of projects which are aimed at reducing the incidence of fires across the island. Every work day officers visit schools, business places and communities in conducting safety inspections, making vital recommendations, conveying the fire-prevention message by way of fire safety lectures and literature distribution. Through deliberate efforts, over the last three years the statistics have showed steady increases in building inspections and public education, which is aimed at creating safer communities.

This year, we have also stepped up the pace and have become more steadfast in our approach. We have been walking through several communities and interacting with members on a one-on-one basis. So far, we have trained and certified over two hundred and fifty community fire wardens within various communities across the island. Our team will continue to visit and provide support and advice to the members of these communities. We believe it is less strenuous on the resources of the Brigade and, by extension, Jamaica, when individuals are equipped with the knowledge of handling emergencies involving fire and, most importantly, preventing a fire from occurring.

The Jamaica Fire Brigade applauds these communities for endorsing our theme for this year's Fire Safety Awareness Week, 'Communities in Action … Supporting Fire Prevention'. We are taking this opportunity to encourage more communities to support this cause, as we all play an integral role in helping to minimise the loss of lives and damage to properties. The Brigade also asks for your help in spreading the 'fire-prevention doctrine', by encouraging friends and neighbours to practice basic fire-safety techniques. To the business communities, we urge you to make concerted efforts in implementing the fire-safety concepts recommended by the fire inspectors. Let us continue to work together in an effort to promote and preserve fire-safe communities for a fire-safe Jamaica.

Warren Malcolm

Assistant Commissioner

Chief Fire Prevention Officer