JFB reports decrease in number of fire-related deaths
Commissioner at the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Stewart Beckford. (Photo: JIS)

The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) has reported a decrease in the number of fire-related deaths between January and September 2022, in comparison to the corresponding period in 2021.

Addressing a recent Jamaica Information Service ‘Think Tank’, Commissioner of the JFB, Stewart Beckford, reported that the number of deaths decreased by approximately 48 per cent when compared to last year.

“While we can be comforted by the fact that we have seen a significant reduction in fire-related deaths this year, we should all work to get that number down to zero,” he said.

Beckford noted that discarded cigarettes, suspected arson, acts of nature, careless use of fire, explosions, spontaneous ignitions, and electrical short circuits were among the major sources of fire that the JFB has seen.

“There are cases where persons may be smoking, and they discard the cigarette while it is still lit. We have seen 247 instances of that and those would have resulted in fires occurring at some locations,” he pointed out.

The Commissioner added that there is also a decrease in the number of cases relating to the careless use of fire.

“This could very well involve you, but we have been speaking specifically to our farmers about slash and burn and, thankfully, we have been seeing a reduction in this category,” he said.

Reporting on the 91 cases of suspected arson over the period, Beckford said that the JFB will continue to work with the police to investigate these cases, some of which had been circulating in the news in recent times.

He also informed that the JFB has responded to 40 cases of fire caused by acts of nature, 14 explosions, 34 spontaneous fires, and 264 cases of fire caused by electrical short circuits.

He expressed that there is a “deep concern” for fires caused by electrical short circuits, as some of the fires in this category are due to inappropriate connections to Jamaica Public Service power lines.

Beckford is imploring persons, especially those in the inner-city communities to “get their electricity regularised… so as to reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring”.

“We are all responsible for our safety, and so I encourage you to practise good fire-safety principles, whether it’s at home or work,” he added.

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