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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Fire Safety Awareness Week, which was observed from October 23 to 29, is being hailed as a success in educating Jamaicans about the need to prevent fires, particularly in bushes.
  • Senior Deputy Superintendent at the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Emilio Ebanks, told JIS News that after analysing all the activities and their outcomes, the week was successful.
  • Mr. Ebanks said the message to Jamaicans coming out of Fire Safety Awareness Week is to not burn carelessly.

Fire Safety Awareness Week, which was observed from October 23 to 29, is being hailed as a success in educating Jamaicans about the need to prevent fires, particularly in bushes.

Senior Deputy Superintendent at the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Emilio Ebanks, told JIS News that after analysing all the activities and their outcomes, the week was successful.

“When we look at the activities we had across the island, the different communities we went into, the reach and effect we’ve been having and seeing the impact on social media with the young people, we are satisfied it was a success,” he said.

One aspect of the week which was unique, he pointed out, was the focus on the environment.

“We have been focusing on an environmental approach to assist in the fight against climate change, so we went into communities and presented alternatives to burning, and addressed the vicious cycle of global warming, which contribute to more fires,” he added.

Mr. Ebanks noted that there were a few lessons learnt that will be taken on board when the next planning session begins for Fire Awareness Week 2017. These include starting out a little earlier in terms of going into the communities and engaging residents, particularly young people, and the local business community.

“We could have gotten a lot farther had we received support from more corporate persons, so we definitely are going to be starting earlier. In fact, we are looking to start as early as January to develop a theme, and inviting corporate citizens to come along and partner with us as we move forward,” he said.

On the matter of community and youth involvement at the local level, Mr. Ebanks said this was impressive. He attributes this success to a deliberate strategy on the part of the JFB planning team.

“The message was not overbearing and the sight of the fire brigade [unit] coming into the communities also helped. People were very welcoming, and once we got in and people understood what we were about, everybody came on board,” he added.

Mr. Ebanks said the message to Jamaicans coming out of Fire Safety Awareness Week is to not burn carelessly.

“If you are in doubt about anything relating to fire and safety, go into any fire station islandwide and ask or call the fire prevention headquarters at 922-2523. We want to ensure that every Jamaican is armed with the knowledge of how to prevent fires,” he advised.

Fire Safety Awareness Week 2016 was observed under the theme ‘Don’t burn carelessly: Uncontrolled burning brings death and destruction’.