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Ministry spends big on fire stations Four new facilities to be handed over by year-end

PORT MARIA, St. Mary: The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is making a J$924.7 million investment in the infrastructure of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) with the construction of four new facilities.

The new fire stations, which are slated to be handed over by year-end, are being constructed in Montego Bay, St. James; Port Maria, St. Mary; Yallahs, St. Thomas and Old Harbour in St. Catherine.

“Firefighters are always nearby, ready to respond,” said Portfolio Minister, Honourable Desmond McKenzie during a tour of the Port Maria Fire Station work site on July 1.

The Minister emphasised that the JFB undertakes essential functions for the safety of lives and properties as well as in times of disaster at a moment’s call.

Commissioner Stewart Beckford said that the new facilities will improve the morale of the firefighters and provide areas for physical and recreational activities for its members.

Three of the new stations are being erected under the World Bank Project. They are the J$535m Barnett Street Fire Station in Montego Bay; the Yallahs Fire Station is being done at a cost of J$113m and the J$217m Port Maria Fire Station.

The Old Harbour Fire Station is being built at a cost of J$59.7m.

During the 2021/2022 Sectoral Presentations, Minister McKenzie announced that the acquisition of new equipment for the JFB will enter a new technological dimension.

“The Fire Brigade will launch the Unmanned Arial Vehicle Programme, and this programme will purchase two drones,” he stated. “The drones will assist with surveillance for search and rescue exercises, as well as fires and other emergency situations. This programme, which is the first of its kind for the JFB, will help our firefighters to far better manage emergency situations.”

The Minister also shared that the plan to build the Papine Fire Station is advancing as the University of the West Indies Mona has formally agreed for a section of its property to be used as the base for the station.

Additionally, land has also been identified in Ulster Spring, Southern Trelawny to build a fire station.