The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) is observing Fire and Life Safety Awareness Week 2019 from October 27 to November 2, under the theme ‘Mek Wi Fix it: Community First’.

Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Acting Assistant Commissioner and Public Relations Officer, Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), Emeleo Ebanks, said that the focus is on promoting fire safety in order to preserve life and property. He noted that a number of fires are caused by human error.

Between January and September, a total of 1,197 structural fires were recorded, with 23 lives lost – 19 adults and four children.

“The theme ‘mek wi fix it’ certainly suggests that something is broken in our opinion, so we are going in to fix it and we are starting at the community level. That is against the background of ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, so we are trying to get back to the root of fixing the issues in the community and then have it impact the wider Jamaica,” he said.

The week started with a church service at the Portmore Holiness Christian Church in St. Catherine and continued with a series of expositions, motorcades, tours and lectures throughout the island on Monday (October 28).

Two fora will be staged at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus, on Wednesday (October 30), and Thursday (October 31), respectively, between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

“We will be going into some of the things that we look for when we’re inspecting public buildings. We really want to ask persons to please attend these. They are open for everybody. Come in and get the information you will need, and this information can mean the difference between life and death. It is that serious,” Mr. Ebanks said.

Acting Assistant Commissioner and Public Relations Officer, Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), Emeleo Ebanks

Also on Tuesday, a ‘Fyah Safety Pan Di River’ cookout will take place at Rio Bueno in Trelawny where residents will be taught fire-prevention and life-safety extrication tips as well as swift and still water rescue.

The 85th Anniversary of the Black River Fire Station will be commemorated with a street parade through the St. Elizabeth capital on the day.

On Friday (November 1), hotel staff in Negril will face off and test their knowledge on all aspects of fire prevention and safety at a ‘Hotels Fire Safety Day’.

The week will end with the JFB Firefighters Ball at the Royalton in Negril on Saturday (November 2), where officers will be awarded for their service to the brigade and, by extension, Jamaica.

The public is being invited to participate in all public events in their respective parishes.

Further details can be found on the JFB’s social media pages or by contacting fire stations islandwide.