Fire Brigade strengthening disaster response

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) says it is fortifying its capacity to respond to emergencies during times of disaster.

The JFB move includes undertaking primary functions such as fire management and search and rescue; and secondary tasks, including assisting with the clearing of roadways, recovery of fatalities, and transportation of people to medical facilities and shelter.

JFB Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations, Kevin Haughton, said that more than 150 firefighters across the island were recently trained in urban search and rescue, “so we are up-skilling our staff in the event of any eventualities”.

 In addition, he said that through a partnership with the Ministry of Health “we will be conducting and participating in a number of mass casualty management programmes that will be rolled out shortly”.

Haughton was outlining the JFB’s state-of-readiness for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, during a recent press conference hosted by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management at its St Andrew offices.

He noted that 109 recruits graduated from the JFB’s training programme on June 1, where they underwent a new type of basic training.

“They were the first batch of persons to be trained as emergency medical responders. This means that as it relates to emergency care, we can be in a better position to provide that type of service,” he said.

The brigade’s pre-disaster activities also include internal planning, and simulations for firefighters and emergency responders.

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