Fire safety training for food vendors
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Vendors who sell food on the streets of this western city will receive fire safety training. The initiative comes on the heels of a recent blaze that razed more than 50 shops at a popular shoe arcade.
“They are using open flames, and they have to know how to treat with that within the public space,” said deputy mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Richard Vernon.
He was speaking with journalists on the sidelines of Jamaica Fire Brigade’s National Open Day activities at Montego Bay Fire Station on Monday. According to Vernon, he has seen some things that are causes for concern.
“We see malpractices such as open flames being used close to gas stations — that is unacceptable,” he said.
The fire safety training will be offered under the St James Municipal Corporation’s recently launched Safe Food Programme. Vernon said the Jamaica Fire Brigade is integrally involved.
“Having the Jamaica Fire Brigade on board, having them ensure that the food operators are equipped with fire extinguishers — a hand-held one at least — that is important, not only for the food operators but for the public,” he stated.
“Accidents can happen, and they must know how to respond to these accidents,” he argued.
In addition to fire safety, vendors who participate in the Safe Food Programme will get best practices tips on food preparation and hygiene, plus other sessions that they may find useful.
“They’ll be getting sensitisation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, how they can tap into economic opportunities. They will be certified by health this Wednesday and on Sunday of next week, [and] they will be trained by HEART/NSTA Trust and certified in food preparation,” said Vernon.