Montego Bay, Jamaica, October 24, 2016 – Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, has called on households and business entities to put safety measures in place in order to reduce the devastating consequences of fires. “Across Jamaica each year, fire is a major cause of damage to property and physical infrastructure and, sadly, loss of life. Risk assessment and careful monitoring of situations that are likely to result in combustion is important,” he said.
The Governor-General’s remarks came in a speech read by Custos of Westmoreland, Hon. Rev. Hartley Perrin, at the national Fire Safety Awareness Week church service held yesterday (October 23), at the Wesleyan Holiness Church in Savanna-la-Mar, under the theme ‘Don’t burn carelessly! Uncontrolled burning brings death and destruction’. “It is without question that fires can derail economic growth and development, as was evident in segments of the agricultural sector in 2015. However, if we renew our efforts to prevent them and lessen their tragic consequences, the gains will redound to the benefit of all,” the Governor-General pointed out. He commended the Jamaica Fire Brigade on its programmes to increase the awareness of citizens to fire hazards and how to reduce risks.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, in his message read by Caretaker for Eastern Westmoreland, Andrea Walters, said that fire prevention must be taken seriously. He noted that the theme highlights the importance of personal responsibility in preventing fires and related injuries or deaths.
Hailing the work of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, the Prime Minister noted that the entity has been instrumental in reducing risks in Mavis Bank in St. Andrew and Maine in St. Elizabeth, which were known to be fire-prone areas. He said there have been vast reductions in the number of fires in the areas this year. “During Fire Safety Awareness Week, we recognize and laud the invaluable contribution of our firefighters, who commit themselves selflessly to preventing loss of lives and property. These hard-working and brave Jamaicans carry out their duties extraordinarily, oftentimes in extremely life-threatening situations,” the Prime Minister pointed out. “I wish the Jamaica Fire Brigade a successful week of activities as it endeavors to arm the nation with important information about fire safety and prevention,” he added.
For her part, Leader of the Opposition, Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, in a message read by Public Relations Officer of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Emilio Ebanks, applauded the Jamaica Fire Brigade for utilizing the annual Fire Safety Awareness Week observance to heighten public knowledge and awareness of the dangers of fires. She urged all Jamaicans to support the week and expressed the hope that the activities will mobilize all individuals, families, and communities towards prevention and safety measures. Fire Safety Awareness Week is being observed from October 23-29.