Partygoers warned to avoid deathtraps

Partygoers warned to avoid deathtraps

Fire brigade says majority of entertainment venues uncertified

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!

THE Jamaica Fire Brigade has warned partygoers to avoid death trap buildings during the festive season and beyond, stating that the majority of entertainment venues have been found to be unfit.

“Personal responsibility is critical to staying alive during the upcoming holidays and beyond,” said commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Stewart Beckford.

“There will be parties at different venues all over the island [and] we ask that you be aware of the buildings you go into to have a good time,” Beckford cautioned yesterday while speaking at a quarterly press briefing of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, at its Hagley Park Road offices in Kingston.

“The fire brigade inspects, among other buildings, places of amusement, and we have examined 1,019 of these facilities between January and November of this year. Of this amount, we were able to certify 140 as fit for use – the vast majority are uncertified,” the fire chief told reporters.

“Some of the things we would have observed during our inspection is that some of these places are operating without fire alarms, smoke and heat detectors, and exit and emergency signs and no alternative exits, whether on the ground or upper floors – of some of these facilities,” he said. Beckford said in some cases the alternate exits were blocked, there were no fire extinguishers, and no signs stating the maximum number of persons the building can hold at any one time.

“There are 308 recorded places of amusement in Kingston and St Andrew; 38 (of this figure) are certified, while the remaining are not. [That means] 88 per cent are not certified,” said Beckfod.

In St Catherine, of 215 places of amusement on record, only 14 are certified.“This means that 93 per cent of these venues are not certified,” the fire chief pointed out.

He also said St James has 109 such places of amusement of which only 49 are certified.“The remaining 60 venues are not certified. This is cause for concern. We are very concerned about the levels of approval that exist for our entertainment facilities so we want you to remain safe and as such, we will be giving you some critical safety advice throughout the period,” he said further.

Yesterday, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie, commenting on the issue, said the ministry was looking at developing a comprehensive list of entities that are in breach.

“Shortly from now entities operating without licences and permits, we will be publishing their names in the papers so the public will be advised,” Minister McKenzie said.

Speaking with the Jamaica Observer afterwards, he said a high-level meeting will be convened next week during which further punitive actions will be discussed as it relates to these operators. He said the fire brigade also has recourse in law and can order these facilities closed.

In the meantime, the brigade has asked that people unplug Christmas lights before going to bed and refrain from leaving stoves unattended

“If your home or business was wired more than five years ago, have a certified electrician check to see that the wiring is still in good working condition,” the fire chief urged.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon