Jamaica News: The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) is calling on parents and guardians to be vigilant during this time and reduce their use of fire, in an effort to prevent an increase in structural fires.
“Right now, we are saying to parents, treat it the same way you would treat the summer holidays or the Christmas holidays. Make sure at all times the children are supervised and that they are not doing anything that could cause a fire. We know at times persons might have to rush out to do some extra shopping, but just don’t leave the children and the very elderly alone at home,” Public Relations Officer with the JFB, Emeleo Ebanks, said in an interview with JIS News.
The JFB has said that the current situation with the closure of schools and more persons working from home, is similar to the holiday periods when incidents of structural fires trend upwards.
Despite there being 1,544 structural fires in 2019, some 18 more than that recorded for 2018, there was a decrease in the number of fire-related deaths and injuries for the year.
There were four less fire-related deaths in 2019, down from the 39 recorded in 2018 and 37 less fire-related injuries for the year, in comparison to the 97 cases in 2018.
This, Mr. Ebanks considers, are early results from the Brigade’s ‘Mek Wi Fix It’ campaign, launched in 2018 in response to the number of fire-related deaths for that year.
“During that time, the Mek Wi Fix It was in the height of its engagement and what we found was that the message was resonating with the adults and children in the communities that we went to, right across Jamaica. We went into as many communities as possible and we were now seeing real benefits from the campaign,” said Mr. Ebanks.
Along with the right message imparted through the Mek Wi Fix It campaign, the Jamaica Fire Brigade has additional tips for Jamaicans to practise to prevent fires while at home.
“What we ask of persons is to reduce your use of fire to the bare minimum, which is cooking, nothing else. Wind conditions are strong on the outside, the time is dry, so we implore persons not to light any fires whatsoever. We have been working with the NSWMA to get the message out there of packaging the garbage properly, putting it on the outside, and have the collectors pick it up,” Mr. Ebanks said.
“We have to remind persons as well that if you are clearing land, the things you are clearing from the land can also be used as mulch. In your home, you can create a compost with it. Do not light fires to burn garbage or plant cuttings,” he emphasised.