JFB Wants to Cut Down on Fire Deaths


The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), alarmed by the increasing number of children dying as a result of fires, will be targeting parents and guardians during its Fire Safety Week activities this year.Fire Safety Awareness Week is being observed from October 24 to 30, under the theme ‘Fire Prevention.Develop the Habit.
Wayne Farquharson, Acting Deputy Chief Fire Prevention Officer, told JIS News, that the theme was timely in light of the increasing numbers of children being killed in fires. Citing statistics, he said that in 1997, two children and eight adults perished in fires; 10 children and 22 adults died in 1998; nine children and 13 adults were killed in 1999; five children and 17 adults died from fires in 2000 and in 2003, 12 children and 17 perished as a result of fires.
He described the statistics as “alarming” adding that far too many children were dying as a result of negligence, ignorance and carelessness on the part of adults, parents and guardians.
“The JFB is therefore, during this week, placing emphasis on homes and communities and is appealing to parents and adults to desist from the practice of leaving children alone at home. Make sure the child is left with a neighbour or responsible adult,” he said.
“It is very important that children and parents understand fire prevention measures/techniques as these can be referred to, in times of a crisis,” Mr. Farquharson suggested.
The Fire Prevention Officer offered some tips for fire prevention:. Do not use oil, gasoline or kerosene to revive fires.. Do not store gasoline, alcohol, methylated spirits and diesel oil.. Do not allow children to play with matches or lighters.. Do not leave flammable liquids carelessly placed in the reach of children.. Do not burn rubbish in open spaces as the smoke can affect sinuses and increase asthma attacks. The practice is also a violation of the country’s Fire Act and Clean Air Act.. Do not run electrical cords under carpets, rugs or behind furniture.. Do not smoke in bed.. Do not leave electrical appliances plugged in or unattended as overheating could cause ignition.. Place candles in proper holders.. Fill lamps during daylight hours and far from flammable liquids.
The Fire Prevention Officer also had some words of warning about kitchen safety for adults and parents.
KITCHEN SAFETY. Do not hang curtains directly over the stove.. Do not build cabinets over the stove.. Do not leave cooking unattended.. Do not leave washing over the stove to dry. Do not allow cords of electrical kettles or other appliances to be over the stove.. Do not use gloss paint or polystyrene ceiling tiles as they cause fires to spread rapidly.. Keep handles on pots turned inwards.. Install large gas cylinders outside. Keep a fire extinguisher near the exit.. Extinguish fat-pan fire with damp cloth rather than water.
The JFB is governed by the Jamaica Fire Brigade Act (1988) which outlines the actions that the Brigade can take when a building or premises does not conform to satisfactory standards of fire prevention practices and the role and responsibility of the Brigade. There is also a section informing persons of their right to appeal any decision made by the JFB.There have been subsequent amendments to the Act making it relevant to situations that may develop. The JFB is the initial responder to emergencies in Jamaica and is the safety organization for the entire country.
“Fire prevention is everyone’s business and we must develop the habit and be fire safe,” Mr. Farquharson reiterated.

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