The Jamaica Fire Brigade has received water and structural rescue kit equipment valued at some $1 million, to further strengthen its search and rescue operations in six parishes.
The equipment, which has been donated by the United States Southern Command, in partnership with the US Embassy in Jamaica, was handed over to Commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Laurie Williams, at the York Park Fire Station, in Kingston, on June 28.
Included in the items are self-contained breathing apparatus, portable lighting, helmets, chain saws, holding shovels, and water rescue and flotation devices.
They will be deployed to the York Park, Trench Town and Stony Hill Fire Stations in Kingston and St. Andrew; the Falmouth Fire Station in Trelawny; the Port Maria Fire Station in St. Mary; and the Ocho Rios Fire Station in St. Ann.
Commissioner Williams, in expressing gratitude to the US Government, assured that the tools will be utilised with professionalism and true commitment to duty.
He noted that the donation is quite timely, as it coincides with the start of Hurricane Season. “This is a time when we may be called on again to do our part in saving lives and protecting property,” he said.
Commissioner Williams also gave the assurance that the men and women of the Jamaica Fire Brigade remain “committed to the role of fire protection in Jamaica for citizens and visitors alike.”
For his part, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, Dr. Raymond Brown, said he hopes the donations will enhance the capacity of the Jamaica Fire Brigade professionals to better conduct search and rescue and fire fighting operations in the interest of the Jamaican people.
“It is our hope and expectation that these donated items will be integrated into the full service of Jamaica’s fire fighters, first responders, and emergency and rescue services,” he said.
Dr. Brown noted that the donation is part of a plan to build the capacity of Jamaica Fire Brigade to carry out and respond to rescue operations from structures affected by earthquakes, water rescue during flooding and essential fire fighting operations in urban and rural locations.
CONTACT: ATHALIAH REYNOLDS