MONTEGO BAY, St James — MBJ Airports Ltd, operators of the Sangster International Airport, is to donate a unit from its fire department to the Jamaica Defence Force, in the wake of the acquisition of two state-of-art fire trucks valued at roughly $87million each.
"We are going to donate one of the trucks that we are retiring to the Jamaica Defence Force and we will probably sell the other one," said Elizabeth Scotton Brown, MBJ's chief commercial officer.
She explained that the company's recent purchase of two fire trucks — one of which arrived last week — represents MBJ's "single most capital investment for the year".
Painted in Jamaica's national colours — black, green and gold — with gold the more dominant, the new units are custom engineered to offer fast emergency response, changing from 0 to 50 mph within 35 seconds.
According to Howard Gordon, MBJ's emergency services manager, the trucks form part of a move by the company to modernise its fleet at the Brigade.
He pointed out, that each unit has a 3,000-gallon water capacity, a foam tank size of 420 gallons and can hold up to 550 pounds of dry chemical and has a maximum speed of about 70 mph.
They are outfitted with systems to enhance vision in low visibility conditions, including operation during total darkness. The units also have the ability to detect hot spots and residual heat in all light conditions and a raft of other features.
Meanwhile, Gordon told the Observer West that one of the units is expected to be commissioned into service later this month, following the completion of a training programme to be conducted by personnel from Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
The training, which is likely to begin next week is expected to last for six days. It will involve "aspects of the day to day maintenance of the unit, as well as operational," said Gordon.
Some 18 of the company's 36 firefighters will participate in the programme.