Tue | Jun 22, 2021

St Catherine eyes social intervention to reduce bush fires

Published:Friday | July 19, 2019 | 12:15 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer

With bush fires accounting for more than 60 per cent (116) of the 198 calls received by the St Catherine Fire Brigade last month, the Jamaica Fire Brigade will be conducting a probe into the origin of such blazes.

Valerie Dixon, divisional superintendent in charge of the St Catherine Fire Brigade, said the investigation will take the form of a fact-finding mission.

“We have seen the need to do further investigation into these fires to equip us with the necessary information to educate the public on preventative measures that can be taken to minimise incidence of bush fires,” Dixon told The Gleaner. “Our aim is to do more social intervention given the fact that most of these bush fires are caused by carelessness, persons not being aware of their environment.”

Dixon said that these planned social interventions are necessary to as the Jamaica Fire Brigade usually faces challenges accessing water in the dry season. However, she said that her department was not being greatly affected by this at the moment.

Dixon said that only 46 of the 198 calls were structural fires, with 25 of this number being residential structures resulting in 22 adults and 11 children being left homeless.

Motor vehicle accidents

During the same period, the St Catherine Fire Brigade rendered special services in five motor vehicle accidents that left eight persons injured and eight hospitalised.

On the issue of fires caused by liquefied natural gas (LNG), Dixon said that the St Catherine Fire Brigade was equipped to battle such blazes.

“We are trained and ready to deal with fires associated with LNG. Of course, we will start the process with the available chemicals we have in store while we seek resupply from nearby stations,” Dixon said.

She said that there are currently six fire units in the parish, and all four fire stations are equipped with at least one unit.

She estimated fires losses in the parish for June to be $35 million.