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The Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Sport is exploring cost-effective ways of training the firemen and women of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB).
“It will cost approximately $1 million to have each person trained in London and so the possibility of having the trainers flown into the island and for us to do the training here are options being explored,” Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Portia Simpson Miller has said.
She was speaking recently at the signing of a contract for the refurbishing of the Savanna-la-Mar fire station at the Ministry’s offices on Hagley Park Road in Kingston.
Mrs. Simpson Miller pointed out that land has been purchased for the construction of a fire training institution and assistance was now being sought to have the building erected. She appealed to corporate Jamaica to get on board and partner with the Ministry.
“The vision is to have our fire personnel, not only trained in putting out fires, but also in rescue, and [to cope with] any act of terrorism, although we hope that terrorism never enters our shores. We just want to know that we are prepared for anything in this country,” she added.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said she hoped that the training centre, to be erected at Twickenham Park near Spanish Town, would serve as a regional training institution, so that it could earn money for the maintenance of the property.
“The fact that we are now looking to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), it would be good for the CARICOM region to have a proper training institution for the men and women of our fire services. While we establish [training facilities] for Jamaica, we could offer similar training to the rest of the region,” the Minister pointed out.
Assistant Commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Frederick Whyte said two fire-fighters from Martinique would be arriving in the island in August to conduct training in the use of the jaws-of-life equipment. Members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade are also in training at the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) in Kingston , as the Ministry continues to look at succession planning and the upward mobility of members of the brigade.