JIS News

Firefighters in St. James and Hanover have embarked on an intensive public education programme in observance of Fire Safety Awareness Week, which began on October 28.
The programme, which is intended to heighten awareness about fire prevention, includes seminars, exhibitions, demonstrations, fire simulation drills and visits to workplaces, schools and community groups. In an interview with JIS News, Superintendent in charge of the Hanover division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Dolphin Doeman, said that a lot of emphasis is being placed on residential areas, in light of the fact that a high percentage of fires occur in the home. “It has been observed overtime that a lot of fires that occur, usually occur in homes, and so this emphasis during this week is being placed on residential communities, and what you will find across the island is that the Jamaica Fire Brigade will be embarking on this community fire safety programme,” he stated. He advised that extra care must be taken when lighting fires in or near the home. In the meantime, he told JIS News that from January to October, some 352 fire calls were received in the Hanover division, with 241 of these being genuine emergency calls. Of the 241 genuine calls, approximately 23 were house fires, which left some 36 persons homeless.
Over in St. James, Superintendent Vincent Allen, told JIS News that the service is targeting residents of informal settlements, as many of the home fires in the parish, came from these areas.
“There are a lot of things people do in these areas in terms of fires. We are talking about electricity or candles as the root cause, so we are actually targeting these areas right now by doing house to house calls,” he stated. Superintendent Allen said that between January and September 2007, some 734 fire calls were received, with 466 of those being genuine calls. Of the genuine calls, 81 involved dwelling houses which caused five deaths and left 140 persons homeless. He said that the public education programme would continue in these informal settlements and other residential areas for some time. Activities will culminate in the parish on November 3 with an awards banquet and ball at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay.
National Fire Safety Awareness week is being observed under the theme: ‘Awareness: the key to a fire-safe community’.

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