The fleet of the Jamaica Fire Brigade has been improved with the acquisition of six new emergency response vehicles valued at $385 million.
The units include two firefighting boats, two fire engines and two pumper tankers. The firefighting boats are to be assigned to the parishes of Kingston and St. James, to serve the western part of the island.
Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie handed over the units during a ceremony held at the fire boat station, Newport East, Kingston, on April 16.
In his remarks, Minister McKenzie said the acquisition will significantly improve the capacity of the Fire Brigade to respond to emergencies.
He noted that the units represent a major investment in the Fire Brigade and are part of the Government’s continuous effort to improve the social services of the country.
The Local Government Minister also informed that $22 million will be spent on facilities to house the boats. Of this amount, $14 million will be spent to erect facilities in Montego Bay, while $8 million will be spent in Kingston.
“This Administration is not only talking about improving the capabilities of the Jamaica Fire Brigade; we are putting the money into the (agency),” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister McKenzie said a sum of $189 million has been set aside in the 2018/19 Budget for the purchase of more fire trucks.
He also informed that through a partnership with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), six additional trucks will be added to the fleet of the Jamaica Fire Brigade shortly.
In addition, he said discussions are under way on measures to strengthen the services of the Brigade, adding that a new fire station is to be constructed in the Corporate Area.
“There are 33 stations across the country. Seven stations are presently without adequate working units, and it is the intention of this Administration, by the end of the next financial year, that all financial stations across the country will have at least one good working fire unit to deliver service to the people of this country,” he said.
For his part, Commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Raymond Spencer, expressed his appreciation for the units, adding that they will boost the services of the Brigade.