JIS News

The Hanover Division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, is training and certifying citizens as Fire Wardens, who will help in fighting fires in their communities.
The move comes against an increase in fires in the parish since the beginning of the year, and a shortage of resources and manpower to effectively contain outbreaks, especially in the hilly communities.
Under the project, community volunteers are trained in firefighting techniques, on completion of which, they are certified as Fire Wardens within their respective communities. The wardens serve as the first line of defence against any occurrence of fire within their communities, until the divisional firefighters arrive on the scene.
The first 30 Fire Wardens were presented with certificates yesterday (March 31), during a ceremony held in the district of Cascade. A plaque was also unveiled in the village square to launch and notify residents about the service.
Acting Divisional Head for the Hanover Fire Brigade, Assistant Superintendent Rudolph Seaton, informed that to date, some 95 persons from three districts have been trained as Fire Wardens.
In addition to the 30 from Cascade, 10 persons from Chambers Pen and two groups totalling 55 persons in Chester Castle, have been trained and will be certified soon. One group in the District of Caudwell will begin training “any time now,” he said.
According to Assistant Superintendent Seaton, the volunteers will be critical in the parish’s firefighting efforts, noting that fire calls have increased appreciably since the start of the year. From a high of 324 in 2005, fire calls decreased steadily to a low of 191 in 2008, before rising significantly since the start of the year. “In 2009, we were hoping for this decrease to continue, but since January, we have received in excess of 375 fire calls. This is a matter of concern”, he stated.
He issued a challenge to the newly installed Fire Wardens to stand up as stalwarts in their communities, as they assist in fulfilling the mandate of the Brigade to protect and save lives and property.
Assistant Commissioner with the Jamaica Fire Brigade and Officer in charge of Region 4, Valbert Lawrence, hailed the Hanover Brigade for instituting the project, which he said, was an innovative and proactive approach towards protecting life and property in the parish.
He said that with the severe effects of the global economic downturn, “it is imperative that every effort is made to save and protect what little is already in place”.

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