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New units will improve fire brigade services in Manchester – deputy chief

Published:Saturday | July 10, 2021 | 12:08 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

Despite a reduction in emergencies for the month of June, the Manchester Fire Department says there are constraints as a result of the unavailability of labour and is looking forward to the addition of new trucks to the existing fleet.

“We are expecting in short order, the first 15 of 30 trucks that the Government has ordered. By the next two weeks, Christiana should be getting a unit and all things being well, Mandeville should be getting a second truck to improve our response,” Deputy Superintendent Rohan Powell said.

Not only is Powell happy for the additional trucks, but he is equally as expectant for an increase in human resource.

Powell, who was addressing the Manchester Municipal Corporation monthly meeting on Thursday, said COVID-19 has hampered the drive to increase staff complement, but is hoping that will change in short order.

He further noted that high on the agenda as well is the construction of another sub-station in the parish, which will improve response in the south.

“The dialogue has started and the municipality has offered lands to the fire brigade, it’s just for the formalities to take place between ministries and for funds to be sorted for the substation in Cross Keys,” he told The Gleaner.

As the calls increase for more functioning hydrants to be established, Powell said only critical areas can be addressed.

“Our rating is different from how the regular man would rate it. When we do our rating, we look at how close a hydrant is needed to a commercial district and that for us send up a risk. We look at the commercial properties around that puts up the risk on the rating scale.”

Powell said there were 40 emergencies reported among the stations in June, with only 24 being genuine, three false alarms with good intent and six malicious false alarms.

“We were able to save property amounting to $3.1 billion, but we lost over $26 million and in property $3.2 million.”