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Minister of Local Government and Environment, Dean Peart has said that with the arrival of 18 of the 33 contracted fire units this month, the Acting Commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade will determine the needs of each fire station and deploy the units accordingly.
Informing the House of Representatives last week, Mr. Peart added that the ship carrying the remaining 15 fire units would set sail for the island on August 9.
He explained that three of the first batch of 18 vehicles were damaged in transit and were currently undergoing repairs. “As soon as these are repaired at the expense of the manufacturers they will be assigned through the Commissioner’s office,” said Mr. Peart.
In July, 2005, Cabinet approved the award of a contract in the sum of US$9.2 million to Rosenbauer America LLC for the procurement of 33 fire fighting units for the JFB. These include four water tenders; four foam tenders; 25 pumpers (inclusive of all equipment and tools); and five years of service and maintenance.
Last Monday (July 24), Cabinet also approved the award of a contract for an additional 13 units at a cost of US$8.107 million. These include five emergency ladders, four turntable ladders, and four hydraulic platforms. Mr. Peart said included in this package was a five year maintenance programme inclusive of equipment and tools.
He added that “we are currently preparing the tender documents for the purchase of two fireboats”. Mr. Peart mentioned that the Ministry was also purchasing six utility vehicles which he said “will no doubt boost the capacity of the fire services to protect and as far as possible, prevent loss of lives and property”.
The Minister further told colleague members that a status report and needs analysis had been done on the state of the fire stations in the island. “Approximately $157 million has been approved to start rehabilitation work. Meanwhile our immediate attention is now on the Falmouth fire station which is under construction to be completed in February 2007,” he informed.
He added that the Ministry was currently addressing the needs of the other stations across the island, including the refurbishment of temporary facilities to house personnel at the Barnett Street station in Montego Bay.
The Ministry is now seeking Cabinet approval for the construction of the Lucea Fire Station, which has gone to tender and has been approved by the National Contracts Commission. Designs are currently being done for a training facility at Twickenham Park, with a view to begin construction this year.
“The Old Harbour and Port Maria stations are also in design phases, and Phase one of the rehabilitation of the York Fire Station in Kingston is complete with phase two at the tendering stage,” Mr. Peart added.