900 fire hydrants repaired
The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) is reporting that some 900 fire hydrants across the island have been repaired as part of upgrading work to improve the emergency response of firefighters.
The repairs were made possible through the Japanese Embassy's Grant Assistance for Grass Roots and Human Security Project, after it was discovered that out of 13,207 fire hydrants, some 4,919 were not functional.
Under the programme, the Embassy provided funding amounting to US$121,622 to procure repair tools and parts, global positioning system (GPS) machines, as well as a Toyota Hiace panel van to transport heavy-duty equipment to facilitate repairs of fire hydrants across the island. The grant contract was signed in March 2014.
"It is the intention of the Government, over the next two financial years, to increase the stock of equipment for the fire service. We will do everything that we can to ensure that we provide you with the requisite tools to do your job," said Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie.
Ambassador of Japan to Jamaica Masanori Nakano said the project, which signifies the continued friendship between the Governments of Jamaica and Japan, is an example of the extensive work being done to improve the services of this essential entity.
"I am pleased that as a precursor, our grant assistance has been able to take care of 20 per cent of the work on fire hydrants across Jamaica, and we do hope that other collaborative support and partnership will enable the JFB to continue to repair the remainder of non-operational fire hydrants," he said.
Other donations by the Japanese Embassy include two command vehicles designed to operate as mobile offices to provide on-site support in emergency events.