As Jamaicans adorn their homes with decorative lights and other electrical ornaments for the Christmas, the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) is urging householders to have their wiring checked before they put up these lights in order to prevent fires.
Assistant superintendent in charge of communication at the JFB, Emilio Ebanks, said there has been an increase in structural fires over the last few years because of faulty wiring.
"For 2010, we had 1,000 structural fires. These were really building fires, and a large percentage of them are homes.
"In 2011, we had 1,381, and in 2012, we had 1,508. What this is saying to us, when we put them into context, is that about 70 per cent of those are actually electrical-based fires," Ebanks said in an interview with JIS News.
Ebanks said the number of electrical fires is a "huge concern" for the JFB, especially when 50 to 60 per cent of these could have been avoided had persons taken the necessary precautions, which include using a licensed electrician to do the wiring in the house or to periodically check them.
He said where a house has been wired for more than five years, a licensed electrician should come in and do a full check of the electrical infrastructure every year.
Ebanks warned against using "a little man down the road", and urged persons to, instead, seek the services of someone who is "properly trained and tested" or is a member of the Jamaica Licensed Electrical Association.