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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The JFB assists residents to prepare themselves from a rescue perspective.
  • This includes swift water rescue and search and rescue.
  • The brigade tailors sessions to the needs or dangers that a community is likely to experience.

The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) is committed to helping Jamaicans prepare and respond to disasters, through the Build Disaster Resilient Communities (BDRC) and the Community Fire Safety (CFS) programmes.

The BDRC programme is being spearheaded by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).

Speaking with JIS News, Public Relations Officer at the JFB, Emilio Ebanks, said that as part of the BDRC and CFS programmes, the JFB provides information and basic training of personnel in communities by assisting residents to prepare themselves from a rescue perspective.

This includes swift water rescue and search and rescue. “Persons also receive training from a fire-fighting standpoint. We train persons how to prevent fires, as well as how to assist themselves and others in the event of a fire,” Mr. Ebanks shared.

In terms of the BDRC, he explained that the brigade tailors sessions to the needs or dangers that a community is likely to experience.

The programme takes on an increased significance during the hurricane season. “In a farming community, for example, that is prone to land slippages, we train residents in the community mainly in rope rescue, using ropes used to tie their animals or general items they use on a daily basis to effect rescue,”  Mr. Ebanks explained.

He informed that officers have gone back into some of the communities where they have done training and observed that the residents are imparting the knowledge to others. This, he said, is very important to what JFB is trying to achieve through the BDRC programme.

“We have trained well over 1,000 personnel in over 100 communities across the island to become disaster resilient. We target communities that are most difficult to access on a normal basis due to their distance from fire stations or the terrain. The JFB view these persons to have the greatest need for this type of programme. We try to give them as much self-help as is possible,” Mr. Ebanks told JIS News.

He informed that communities can become involved in the BDRC programme by contacting the Parish Disaster Officer at the Parish Council, the Social Development Commission (SDC), or the parish Fire Prevention Officer, and expressing an interest in the training.

He said that ODPEM also automatically selects communities that it believes are in need of such training.

A three-day training session under the BDRC programme got underway in Whitehouse, Westmoreland on Tuesday, September 23, and the JFB will conduct training in Pisgah, St. Elizabeth on Monday, September 30.