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Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government in the Office of the Prime Minister, Robert Montague, has said that the Government is committed to begin construction of the Jamaica Fire Brigade Regional Training Academy at Twickenham Park, St. Catherine.
“Work on the facility will be carried out in phases, but what is so special about this, is that the men and women of the Brigade will undertake in-house, most of the work,” Mr. Montague said.
He added that this was significant as “we strive to build capacity and competence within the Brigade.”
The State Minister was making his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, yesterday (June 24).
Mr. Montague also informed that the Brigade would continue to implement the recommendations in a report done by consultants, and that the organisation would start the training of 85 new recruits in August.
“We also continue the in-house training as well as our participation in overseas training programmes,” the State Minister said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Montague said the fire brigade recently took possession of five new heavy rescue fire vehicles. These, he said, are equipped with a wide variety of rescue equipment to deal with multiple vehicle accidents and other scenarios.
“Eight other trucks are at sea to arrive shortly. These carry platform and turntable ladders for deployment in urban centres with high rise buildings,” the Minister of State noted.
He also informed that the procurement of fire trucks for bush and rural fire fighting is well underway, as well as buses, minivans and cars to support the other transport needs of the Brigade.
Mr. Montague pointed out that the acquisition of smaller and faster boats, and repairs to the fire boat in Kingston are being addressed.
“To expedite this action, we have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Caribbean Maritime Institute to repair this boat and we are told that it will take approximately three months,” the State Minister said.
Other plans for the Jamaica Fire Brigade include the signing of a MOU with the Ministry of Water and Housing for the rehabilitation of fire hydrants islandwide over the next three years, and to improve the responsiveness of the fire service, as it seeks to introduce the emergency medical system in Portmore and Kingston this year.