Fire is a major cause of damage to property and physical infrastructure and loss of life, making safety measures imperative. Since the start of 2018, the Fire Prevention Unit of the Jamaica Fire Brigade has recorded 727 building fires, during which 25 lives were lost and 58 people were injured.
Despite best efforts, fires do occur. Below are some tips that can help to prevent fires and minimise damage to property and save lives in the event of this disaster.
1. Install smoke detectors and regularly check them to make sure they are working properly.
2. Never leave open flames, such as on stoves, unattended.
3. Keep stoves and ovens free from built up grease and residue, as these may ignite while the stove is in use.
4. Clean dryer and air conditioner vents regularly, as built up dust and lint may block them and cause a fire.
5. Keep fabrics, such as curtains, rugs and tablecloths away from electrical outlets.
6. Properly extinguish cigarettes and cigars and ensure they are cool before discarding them.
7. Address fire hazards, such as:
• Rooms overcrowded with furniture
• Faulty wiring
• Overloading of electrical outlets
• Malfunctioning heat-generating appliances
Fire Safety Plan
1. Plan an escape route to use in the event of a fire.
2. Designate an area outside the building as the assembly point for building occupants.
3. Regularly practise your escape plan.
4. Update your escape plan whenever significant changes are made to the layout of the building.
5. Keep all exits accessible.
6. Keep a functioning fire extinguisher on hand.
7. Ensure that everyone knows how to contact fire services.
What to do in case of a fire
1. Use an extinguisher to put out the fire, if it is safe to do so.
2. Contact the fire department as soon as you are able.
3. If necessary, alert everyone else in the building of the fire.
4. Stay low to avoid inhaling smoke.
5. Do not try to save possessions.
6. Exit the building via your prearranged route.
7. If you become trapped, close and block all doors between yourself and the fire, and call for help from a window or a telephone.
8. Once outside, check that all the building’s occupants have made it out. If there are people still inside, tell the fire service workers.
9. Do not go back inside until it is officially declared safe to do so.
For additional information, please contact:
Fire Prevention Division
Jamaica Fire Brigade
14 Port Royal Street
Tel: 876-922-0007, 922-0027, 967-0550 976- 4607