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    Acting Assistant Commissioner and Officer in Charge of the Fire Prevention Division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), Emeleo Ebanks, speaking at a JIS Think Tank on October 22.
    Photo: Rudranath Fraser

    The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) will be using a virtual format to get the message of fire safety and prevention across to Jamaicans during Fire and Life Safety Awareness Week 2020.

    The week will be observed from October 25 to 31 under the theme ‘Being Fire Safe while Socially Distant’.

    Usually, at this time of the year, firefighters from across the island would stage face-to-face sensitisation sessions with community groups, schools, churches and businesses, but with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic restricting such contact, the JFB will be engaging the public through a slew of activities, utilising traditional and social media.

    Acting Assistant Commissioner and Officer in Charge of the Fire Prevention Division of the JFB, Emeleo Ebanks, in outlining the activities at a JIS Think Tank on October 22 said social media engagement has already started through the JFB Instagram Jingle and Poster Competitions, which closed on October 20, with plans to host other events.

    The Brigade will also be hosting virtual university fora during the week.

    “We have been in talks with the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Technology (UTech), as well, and we are trying to get other universities on board. It is really geared towards the students because the universities build a part of this into their curriculum, especially for persons who are doing anything health and safety oriented, but it will be open to the public as well,” Mr. Ebanks told JIS News.

    He said that the JFB is also undertaking the strategic placement of fire-safety messages in traditional media outlets to reach students learning at home and online.

    “We are now looking, as well, at a number of media interviews and public service announcements to again get into the virtual spaces. We have already worked out with the different media houses when there will be a break in lessons on television, and we are getting into those spaces to ensure that the children get the message,” he noted further.

    Mr. Ebanks told JIS News that it is important to continue to reach out to Jamaicans as they spend more time indoors due to the pandemic, as statistics and history have shown that “when you have more persons at home we tend to get more fires”.

    “Here we are with more persons and children at home; however, we cannot go into the spaces that we normally do in the ways we normally would. So, for this year, we will be getting into the virtual spaces,” he noted.

    The Acting Assistant Commissioner is encouraging members of the public to engage with the JFB through its Facebook and Instagram social media pages @jamfirebrigade.

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