JIS News

The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) is urging persons to desist from making malicious false-alarm calls, as they not only waste the country’s resources but delay the response of firefighters to genuine fire calls, resulting in loss of life and property.

The call comes from JFB’s Public Relations Officer, Emeleo Ebanks, who told JIS News that “1,119 times last year, someone thought it fun to send the resources of the country – from a firefighting perspective – on a joyride”.

He noted that firefighters respond to all calls with the same sense of urgency, with a focus of getting to the location as quickly and safely as possible.

“When we look at the cost of fuel, when we look at the risk that is posed to lives and property, we really, really want to ask Jamaicans to desist from sending the emergency services out on false alarms,” he said.

Although the 1,119 false fire calls in 2020 is a slight reduction from the 1,204 malicious calls received in 2019, the number of calls received for the first half of 2021 has already exceeded half the amount for last year at 595 malicious calls.

The devastating effect that a malicious false alarm can have on lives and property was brought into stark reality on July 15, when firefighters from May Pen, Clarendon, responded to a false fire call in Douglas Castle, St. Ann, near the border of Clarendon.

On the way back to May Pen, the fire unit was involved in a motor-vehicle accident with a goods delivery truck.

“The livelihood of this other individual is taken into consideration. We look at the lives that could have been impacted had the accident been more serious. We also look at the fact that May Pen is now out of a fire truck for an extended period because of this senseless act,” Mr. Ebanks pointed out.

He noted that less than 24 hours later “we got a call for a house fire and a truck from Linstead had to respond to that fire that May Pen would have normally responded to, and the sad reality is that someone died as a result of that fire.”

Mr. Ebanks issued a warning to those who continue to make malicious false fire calls.

“To the individuals, who are doing this, we are going to pursue you, we are going to catch you. We have made reports to the police, we are doing the investigations and we are going to catch you. Again, we ask that you desist from doing this or you are going to suffer the consequences,” he said.

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