Jamaica News: The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) will be conducting further assessments of the island’s child care facilities to ensure they are up to the stipulated JFB safety standards.
All of the homes were initially assessed and provided with recommendations for improving fire safety practices, which are being implemented by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA).
The follow-up inspections will evaluate the extent of the facilities’ preparedness, in the event of a fire.
The exercise will form part of activities marking Fire and Life Safety Awareness Week, from October 21 to 27.
According to JFB Acting Deputy Commissioner, Sean Martin, the inspections will serve to greatly improve the child care facilities’ overall safety practices.
“We are working with these homes to develop evacuation drills so that, in the event of an emergency, the caregivers and wards know how to evacuate, where to go and what to do,” he said.
The Acting Deputy Commissioner, who was speaking with JIS News following the launch of Week at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Friday (Oct. 19), said the inspections are expected to be completed by the end of November.
Meanwhile, JFB Assistant Superintendent, Nicholas Ogilvie, said he is aware that the homes have been working hard to implement the Brigade’s recommendations.
“They are really working with us. The CPFSA is one of our major partners as it relates to children. So they are working with us assiduously, putting these recommendations in place to ensure that all of these places of safety are actually in compliance with Jamaica Fire Brigade standards,” he said.
The Assistant Superintendent said the JFB is hoping to further empower the wards to protect themselves by being better prepared for a fire, through activities undertaken during the Week.
“We have realised now that once you focus on (the children), they will even take the message to the adults. So we are trying to get them empowered so they know exactly what to do in the event of a fire, before a fire and what to do after a fire,” he added.
The focus on children this year is significant, in light of data indicating that since 2009, a total of 88 youngsters have lost their lives to fires. These include the two tragic incidents in 2018 at the Walker’s Place of Safety and a house in Olympic Gardens, St. Andrew.
For her part, CPFSA Chief Executive Officer, Rosalee Gage-Grey, said the message of fire prevention is very timely, “having experienced our own loss at the Walker’s Place of Safety earlier this year”.
“It was the programme of engagement with the Jamaica Fire Brigade [and] children and caregivers who went through a series of drills, which assisted them to prevent further loss at the home,” she said.
Fire and Life Safety Awareness Week kicks off with a church service at the Calvary Tabernacle United Pentecostal Church in St. Ann’s Bay on Sunday (Oct. 21).
On Monday (Oct. 22), members of the JFB will visit the Rudolph Lopez School of Hope in Portland to install fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, and also teach the students how to use fire safety equipment.
The Brigade will stage a community and fire safety walk in Westmoreland on Tuesday (Oct. 23). This will entail 42 firefighters walking through the community of Whitehouse to spread the message of fire safety.
On Wednesday (Oct. 24), the JFB will be at the St Mary Anglican Church Hall in Port Maria, where a primary and prep school jingle competition will be staged.
Other events include a forum entitled: ‘A Burning Issue – Jamaica Fire Building Code and You’ at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus, on Thursday (Oct. 25); and a “Mek Wi Fix It” fire safety family fun day at the waterfront in downtown Kingston as well as a fire safety awareness week symposium at Annotto Bay High School in St. Mary, on Friday (Oct. 26).
The Week culminates with a fire fighters ball at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James on Saturday (Oct. 27) to commemorate the JFB’s 147 years of service to Jamaica.
The Week is being observed under the theme: ‘Mek Wi Fix It … Make Fire Safety and our Children our Priority!’
Source: JIS News