Some 60 residents of three communities in St. James have been trained as fire wardens and will now be charged with helping to protect their communities from the ravages of fires.
The residents, from Flanker, Rose Heights and Farm Heights, underwent two months of intensive training under the Jamaica Fire Brigade’s Community Safety Programme.
They received their certificates of completion along with accolades for their achievement, at a graduation ceremony held on July 31 at the Flanker Skills Training Centre.
Chief Fire Prevention Officer at the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Assistant Commissioner Samuel McIntosh, informed that the Community Fire Safety Programme was launched in 2008 in order to facilitate the involvement of communities in fire prevention. He said fires continue to pose a serious threat to lives and property throughout Jamaica.
“Communities across the island are being engaged to assist the Jamaica Fire Brigade in bringing fire statistics to a more manageable level with the limited resources available,” he stated.
Approximately 1,133 persons have been trained as fire wardens since 2008, with 722 from 24 communities trained since January 2011.
The Assistant Commissioner said these persons are now actively engaged in their communities, and the brigade is determined to get more persons trained in fire prevention “noting that the government cannot do it alone”.
Meanwhile, he stated that the brigade continues its fire prevention activities to include inspection of buildings to ensure compliance with fire safety standards, with some 7,436 premises inspected during 2011/2012 alone.
The St. James fire wardens represent the first batch to be trained in western Jamaica under the Community Fire Safety Programme. A total of 10 communities from the region are slated to benefit.