McKenzie in talks with JFB to provide support to firefighters working long hoursMonday, September 20, 2021
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica - Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie, says discussions are underway to provide logistical support to firefighters working long hours.
This was revealed during a visit to the Ocho Rios Fire Station in St Ann on Friday, as the Minister offered up support to members at the station who lost two of their own to a car crash earlier this month.
Alex Williams and Stephan Walters were heading home from work after dropping off another Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) colleague on September 13, when the accident occurred.
Indicating that the loss has left a pall of gloom over the JFB, the Minister says he is engaging the JFB hierarchy to see how best they can prevent future accidents post-shift.
"I am going to engage the leadership of the Brigade as to how we can treat with situations that can prevent fire firefighters, after completing long shifts, to get home without them having to be sitting behind a wheel,” he said.
He added: "It is a discussion that has already started with the Commissioner, and I intend to have the Board engaged some more to see how best this can be done.”
He also used the opportunity to pledge support for the families of the two firefighters, indicating that assistance will be provided to cover their funeral expenses.
“I will be doing everything in my power to ensure that their families receive the best possible support. We will do what is necessary to ensure that the families are not stressed too much in terms of all that is necessary [for the funeral arrangements]. So, I'm giving them the full assurance that I will work closely with the (JFB) to ensure that that is done,” he said.