New fire station needs EMSThursday, July 15, 2021
BY VENESHA MORRIS
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Government Senator Charles Sinclair has cautioned that the soon-to-be- completed $575-million Barnett Street Fire Station will be less than effective unless there are enough ambulances to respond to emergencies.
“I do not want to have a situation where we have this nice, wonderful building costing millions of dollars and, at the end of the day, when I look inside there I don't see sufficient functioning units that can serve the people in the parish,” he said.
Sinclair was speaking, during the recent monthly meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation, in his capacity as councillor for the Montego Bay North Eastern Division.
The state-of-the-art facility, which is expected to be completed by mid-August, is being touted as the most modern in the region.
Sinclair said residents at the lower end of the earning bracket are the ones most affected by existing deficiencies in the parish's emergency medical services (EMS).
“In the past, and especially for communities that I will refer to as lower-income communities, where persons have to depend on Government agencies and services provided by the State... I keep getting these complaints... that they have called for that type of service and regrettably [the EMS] is not able to respond appropriately,” he said.
He also emphasised that it is crucial to have ambulance services available because of the frequency of motor vehicle accidents throughout the parish.
Superintendent in charge of the St James Fire Department Dolfin Doeman, who said the fire department has only one ambulance to serve the entire parish, described the current arrangements as “woefully inadequate”. The unit, he said, is housed at their Ironshore location and at times assists the neighbouring parishes of Trelawny, Hanover and Westmoreland.
Since the inception of the EMS in 1996, he added, there has been only one ambulance provided to the fire department. “We are anticipating that we will get one ambulance and a fire truck when the new fire station is opened,” Doeman said.
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