JIS News

The high incidence of bush fires in the parish of Hanover during the dry season, has prompted the Hanover division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade to embark on a major public education campaign. This drive began in the middle of January, with a view to encouraging residents of the parish to adopt good fire safety practices.
According to Acting Divisional Head of the Jamaica Fire Brigade in Hanover, Paul Hibbert, it is fast approaching the traditional dry season, which is usually characterized by a lot of bush fires.
In an interview with JIS News, Mr. Hibbert explained that bush fires are perennial, and as is the custom, “we have been advising persons by various means in order to see if we can get them to embrace good fire safety practices. We have gone to farmers and their groups, we have made the announcement at Parish Council meetings, our Fire Prevention Officers are at schools, workplaces non-governmental organizations and other places, reiterating that persons should desist from starting bush fires.”
He said that the public education campaign would be carried out until April, the period in which most bush fires occur in the parish. He pointed out that between January to December 2007 approximately 276 genuine fire calls were received and responded to by his division, with 159 of them being bush fires, and that 117 of these occurred between February and April.
Mr. Hibbert said that of the 407 calls that were received by the fire division under his control in 2007, some 82 were for special services, 276 were genuine fire calls, 18 false alarms with good intent, and 31 malicious false alarms. He said that the parish suffered a loss of $381.8 million for the year, due to property fires.
The statistics further show that there was one death, 54 injury cases and 41 persons (27 adults and 14 children) were left homeless as a direct result of these fires.
“We would want the people of the parish to be more conscious, especially in the farming areas where you find farmers using fire to clear land, to stop this practice,” he said. Mr. Hibbert pointed out that in many instances, the practice leads to the loss of property, inclusive of homes, and even lives.

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