Tue | Oct 23, 2018

United Way extinguishes hurdle to ECI certification

Published:Saturday | December 23, 2017 | 12:00 AM
From left: Winsome Wilkins, chief executive officer of United Way of Jamaica; Ian Forbes, outgoing chairman of United Way of Jamaica; Education Minister Ruel Reid; Marcia Forbes, chairman-designate of United Way; Dr Grace McLean, acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education; Karlene DeGrasse-Deslandes, executive director of the Early Childhood Commission; and Trisha Williams-Singh, chairman of the board of commissioners at the Early Childhood Commission, all show off one of the fire extinguishers donated by United Way.

United Way of Jamaica has donated 76 fire extinguishers to 57 early childhood institutions (ECIs) to assist the educational facilities in attaining certification.

The handover was done during a special ceremony at the offices of the Ministry of Education on Tuesday.

"The provision of these fire extinguishers will certainly go a far way in helping other ECIs to meet the operational safety standards," Education Minister Ruel Reid said.

Ian Forbes, chairman of the board of governors at United Way of Jamaica, said: "United Way of Jamaica looks at the big picture, what resources are lacking, and have recognised that making the school environment safer and more secure is of significant importance. It is, therefore, our hope that the fire extinguishers provided here today will hasten the certification of more ECIs."

 

STANDARD 8 REQUIREMENTS

 

The chairman and executive director of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) thanked United Way for its commitment to assisting ECIs across the country.

Fire extinguishers assist ECIs in meeting the criterion in Standard 8 of the 12 Operating Standards for ECIs, which is safety. Standard 8 requires ECIs to provide safe indoor and outdoor environments for children, staff, stakeholders, and visitors to the institution. As it relates to fire extinguishers, Standard 8.3.4 requires ECIs to have fire and other safety equipment, which is checked every month by a member of staff and annually by the fire department or another appropriate company.

The ECC and United Way of Jamaica have been partners since 2007 when United Way's Allocation Committee approved $1.9 million to effect repairs to ECIs that had sustained structural damage as a result of Hurricane Dean.