JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) has received $13 million in grant funding from the Government of Japan, to repair and service hundreds of fire hydrants across the island.
  • The funding was provided under the Government of Japan’s Grant assistance for Grass-roots and human security Projects (GGP).
  • The funding will help the Brigade to improve its response capability, one of its main strategic priorities for 2014/15.

The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) has received $13 million in grant funding from the Government of Japan, to repair and service hundreds of fire hydrants across the island.

The funding was provided under the Government of Japan’s Grant assistance for Grass-roots and human security Projects (GGP), which has provided funding in the amount of $525 million for approximately 80 projects across Jamaica from 1995 up to February 2014.

Assistant Commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Aleric Hacker, says a recent hydrant mapping exercise carried out with the National Water Commission, identified over 13,000 hydrants across Jamaica of which over 4,000 are in need of repair and servicing. This, he says, has proven to be a costly but needed venture.

Speaking at the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development in Kingston, Japanese Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Yasuo Takase said “the funds that our embassy is contributing will be used to purchase parts to repair defective fire hydrants across Jamaica and a vehicle fitted to carry heavy duty equipment to undertake repairs.”

In his remarks, Acting Commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), Errol Mowatt, said the funding will help the Brigade to realise one of its main strategic priorities for 2014/15.

“One of the strategic priorities of the JFB is improved response capability to emergencies. We cannot achieve that unless we have working fire hydrants to support our fire fighting initiatives,” he said.

In addition to repairing fire hydrants, the funds will allow the Jamaica Fire Brigade to train over 650 community members in fire safety skills, and basic fire hydrant maintenance.

Acting Senior Deputy Superintendent of the JFB, Emeleo Ebanks, said fire fighters will also be trained to use Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology to help locate fire hydrants and enable them to better maintain the system, as well as respond faster to emergencies.

The Jamaica Fire Brigade has also benefited from a fire prevention technique training programme in Japan. The programme is in line with the Japanese Government’s Official Development Assistance policy, which focuses on human security.

Ambassador Takese expressed confidence that the grant will have far-reaching benefits to Jamaicans islandwide, and that the project will be completed on time.