Making prevention our priority
Each year, hundreds of individuals are impacted by fire which destroys homes and deprive them of their livelihood. In addition, the death and injury of loved ones also leave behind physical and emotional scars that are too awesome to bear. I applaud the Jamaica Fire Brigade for focussing attention this year on the collective responsibility which we must all share for fire prevention. The theme: 'Community in Action … Supporting Fire Prevention' is a clarion call for Jamaicans to assess the causative factors pertinent to their immediate home and work environments. Only when we take responsibility for our personal fire safety will we be able to reverse the destruction occasioned by fires.
Fire has significant social and financial consequences for Jamaica. The World Health Organisation estimates that on average, fire affects one per cent of GDP especially in developing countries. It is further believed that approximately 300,000 persons die each year from fire and related injuries, with children and the elderly being most at risk. I encourage Jamaicans, especially persons living and working in high-risk areas, to participate in activities being staged by the Jamaica Fire Brigade to promote fire safety. Your participation is essential to preventing further loss of lives, especially among children who are our future leaders and nation builders.
I commend the officers of the Jamaica Fire Brigade for your outstanding work in disaster management and risk reduction. You are unsung heroes who daily risk your lives to help minimise loss of life, injury to persons and damage to property from fires, natural disasters, accidents and other emergencies. Thank you for your contribution toward making our communities, businesses, institutions and households safe.
Sir Patrick Allen