Sixteen residents from the community of Cauldwell in Hanover have been certified as fire wardens, bringing to 119 the total number of such personnel in the parish.
The move is in keeping with a national initiative launched in July 2008 to train and certify community members to be first responders in the event of fires or other disasters in their communities.
Head of the Hanover Division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Deputy Superintendent Paul Hibbert, speaking to JIS News at the graduation ceremony for the new fire wardens held on Thursday (November 26) at the Cauldwell community centre, said that the programme is gaining traction in the parish.
“In the community of Chambers Pen, we have trained six; Cascade, 25; Chester Castle, two groups comprising of 36 persons; in Cauldwell, 16; Kingsvale 22, and Rock Spring 14,” he informed.
Deputy Superintendent in charge of the Hanover Division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Paul Hibbert (left) presents a certificate to resident of Cauldwell district, Kemar Pearce for successfully completing the fire warden training course. Occasion was the graduation ceremony held recently at the Cauldwell community centre. Sixteen volunteers from the district completed the course.
According to Deputy Superintendent Hibbert, the idea to train residents as fire wardens comes against the background of the high number of bush fires in the parish and the need to increase awareness about disaster risk reduction.
He said that the aim is to get the residents of the various districts to identify the possible threats in their communities, whether they are fire-related or otherwise, and to be engaged in activities that will minimise or eventually eradicate these threats.
“The Brigade is cognisant of the fact that in order to effectively reduce the numbers of fires, the message must be prevention, and the focus must be at the community level,” he emphasised.
He informed that up to the end of October 2009, the Hanover Fire Division received some 562 calls, 463 of which were genuine calls, with 354 related to bush fires and 28 were dwelling fires. The remaining 81 calls were related to other causes.
He called on residents throughout the parish to ensure that they put in preventative measures, and be engaged in practices that will prevent injuries and loss of life.