The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) aims to recruit and train 200 skilled firefighters this year at an estimated cost of J$125.5 million.
The funds will come from the $640 million allocated to the Fire Brigade for this financial year.
Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie said this year the Brigade expects to expand its fleet of skilled professionals to serve and protect the country.
“The JFB’s ability to prevent fires through building inspections, public education, fire investigations, and hydrant maintenance will be expanded. Through the new structure of the JFB approved by the Ministry of Finance, the staff of the Fire Prevention Department will be doubled, from 70 to 140,” said McKenzie during the Sectoral debate yesterday (May 30).
He added that firefighters will get more Personal Protective Equipment inclusive of 310 bunker gears valued at J$152 million. Additionally, three command vehicles valued at J$22.5 million will be procured.
McKenzie also shared that the Ministry paid a 50 percent deposit on a brand-new fire boat to serve the town of Ocho Rios. An additional J$147 million is allocated for specialist equipment.
Last year the JFB recruited 188 firefighters skilled in Nuclear and Radiation Emergencies, Water Rescue, Electric Hybrid Motor Vehicle Response, and Emergency Medical Technician Training.
Additionally, 80 Jamaicans who applied to be firefighters last year have first degrees and associate degrees in disciplines ranging from Electrical Engineering to Environmental Studies.