Prime Minister Andrew Holness officially opened the new J$163 million Yallahs Fire Station in St. Thomas, which is expected to serve some 95,000 residents.
The facility is a subproject of the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP), implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
“This fire station is a representation of the Government’s strategic intent of focusing on the development of this parish,” said Prime Minister Holness during the ceremony on October 26.
He also underscored that the Government is undertaking “massive redevelopment” in St. Thomas to significantly improve the lives of its citizens.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Honourable Desmond McKenzie shared that the condition of the previous structure did not befit the dedicated firefighters who were stationed there.
“We are proud of this achievement [because], not only are we building these infrastructures, but we have been providing the Brigade with the requisite tools to carry out their functions.”
The Government has spent close to $900 million on building and improving JFB facilities islandwide since 2016.
The new Yallahs Fire Station has a staff complement of 40 firefighters and boasts a two-storey building comprising administrative offices; a conference room; an emergency medical services room; male and female dormitories, restrooms; a small gym as well as an engine bay.
Commissioner Stewart Beckford, head of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), said the station’s opening will lift the firefighters’ morale, given the new improved working environment that will facilitate improved service delivery to the residents of Yallahs and its environs.
According to data from the JFB, St. Thomas is one of the safest in the island with no reported fire-related deaths over the last five years.
The Commissioner Beckford also commended the firefighters in the execution of their mandate to save lives and protecting property.
The opening of the new Yallahs Fire Station coincides with the JFB’s observance of Fire and Life Safety Awareness Week 2022 from October 23 to 29 under the theme ‘Preserving the Nation through Life Safety and Fire Prevention’.