The Newsletter of the Jamaica Fire Brigade
Homework programme Launched
The Jamaica Fire Brigade officially launched a Homework Assistance Programme for children in the Trench Town Community in the cooperate area on Tuesday 28th January 2003.
Minister of Local Government and Sports the Honourable Portia Simpson-Miller, who was guest speaker at the function encouraged the children who participate in the programme to work hard and ensure that they select worthy persons to be their role models. Conducted under the theme "Education is the key" the project targets ten to twelve year old children who are preparing for Grade Six Achievement Tests (G-SAT).
Also present at the function were Member of Parliament for the area and Minister of Finance the Honourable Dr. Omar Davis, Chairman of the Jamaica Fire Brigade Board of Directors Mr. D. T. Brown, Commissioner Major H. Benson, senior officers of the Brigade and representatives from Air Jamaica Express Limited who are co-sponsoring the Brigade in this venture.
High points of the evening were the presentation of a desk top computer to the home work programme by Mrs. Christine Johnson on behalf of Guardian Life Insurance Company Limited followed by the announcement by Mr. Brown of twenty scholarships to be awarded to children from neighbouring secondary schools, to assist with books, uniforms and lunch. Recipients are to be nominated by their principals.
Assistance from Chicago Fire Department
Members of the Chicago Fire Department recently presented the Brigade with a gift of breathing apparatus sets as part of the fraternal relationship that exists between fire services internationally. The gift, intended to augment the Brigade's depleted inventory of SCBA, was the brain child of Firefighter Patrick McDermott, a Jamaican who currently lives and works in Chicago.
The set is the Scott 4.5 model and a total of one thousand one hundred and thirty-eight light weight cylinders, four hundred and eighty-two face masks and one hundred and forty-four back-plates were received in the shipment.
In addition to the sets a four member team including Mr. McDermott visited the island between January 26 to February 2nd and conducted training in the use of the sets in conjunction with the Training Department.
The other members of the team were Captain Richard Ford, Lieutenant Adam Rose and Miss Carol Searcy , a training consultant.
Promex results published
Resulting from various promotional interviews and the conduct of promotional examinations in 2002 the Commissioner announced the promotion of seventy-two persons in the ranks of sergeants to assistant superintendents on 9th January 2003 effective from the first of the same month.
Twenty-one assistant superintendents, twenty-one district officers and thirty sergeant were named in General Orders. Firebreak congratulates all those persons who were promoted but note that persons in the other ranks tested (firefighter to Lance Corporal and Lance Corporal to Corporal ) have voiced concerns about the long delay in the posting of final results for their examinations.
Officers complete training
District Officer Lannie Sinclair and Assistant Superintendent Linroy Lambert were among the recent graudates from the Caribbean Junior Command and Staff Training Course conducted at the Jamaica Defence Force's Training Depot in Newcastle. The course ran from 9th August through 17th October 2002, and the formal graduation ceremony was 12th December , 2002.
The Brigade's officers completed Part I of the course which is applicable to their command role in the Brigade, and concentrated on improving oral and written communications skills, problem solving and analysis.
Participants were from Canada, the English speaking Caribbean and directing staff included officers from the United Kingdom. Members of the Brigade have been participating on this course since 1996.
Editor's Note: Mr. Sinclair has since been promoted to Assistant Superintendent.
Honours and Awards
It was a festive atmosphere at the Holiday Inn - Sun Spree Resort on Saturday evening 25 January 2003 as members and friends of the St. James Division of the Brigade gathered for their annual awards dinner.
The function chaired by Assistant Superintendent M. Mills was well attended and guests included Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations Frederick Whyte and Superintendent Errol Mowatt, Acting Area Officer Area IV.
Four retired firefighters received awards for their services . Assistant Superintendent Albert Maxwell, District Officers Roland Bernard and Menzie Green, Sergeant George Chambers. Ms. Linda Evans retired cook was also honoured.
Guest speaker at the function was Mrs Helen Davis-Whyte, General Secretary of the Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers (JALGO).
Realistic BA training
The safe use of self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) must be an integral part of any such training. Breathing apparatus is designed to protect the wearer in atmospheres that would not normally support life and thus should be a firefighter's favourite piece of equipment after his or her protective suit.
To be effective, breathing apparatus training must provide for simulation of fire scenarios, with a degree of realism and difficulty that prepares the fire fighter for the possible hazards in real life. The training should provide for:
The training in breathing apparatus use must be frequent, ongoing and evaluated at regular intervals to confirm adherence to good practice and standard operational procedure.
Who then should ne responsible for such training - Brigade Headquarters? The Training Department, or should this be station level training. The answer is that while there should be consultation and collaboration at all three levels, the responsibility for this type of training falls squarely on the Watch Commanders and District Officers at station level. They are the ones who have immediate access to the crews and the equipment and must take a more proactive and creative approach to station level training, especially as it is concerned with the use of breathing apparatus. The safety and welfare of the crew are their immediate responsibility and must be treated as such.
With the recent acquisition of breathing apparatus sets and the exchange of training ideas and techniques from the Chicago Fire Department, we can only anticipate that there will be a new trust in the conduct of Breathing Apparatus training exercises island-wide. One thing is certain, lectures alone is not the way to go.
Watch Those Words
Alittle boy had been losing his temper too often. One day, his father a farmer, took him to the fence built around his farm, handed him a hammer and some nails and said: "Son, for each time you loose your temper you are to drive one nail into this fence." On the first day the little boy drove thirty-seen (37) nails into the fence and on subsequent days he drove less and less until one day he drove none because he stopped losing his temper. He then returned the hammer to his father. The father handed the hammer back to his on and said: " Son, for each day that you keep your temper you are to pull one nail from this fence." After some time, there were no nails left in the fence. The father took his little boy by the hand, led him to the fence and said: "Son, you have done well but look at the fence, it has many holes in it."
The moral of this story is that each unkind word, once spoken cannot be withdrawn and will, therefore, leave a scar regardless of how many times one may say sorry. A SCAR LEFT BY AN UNKIND WORD CAN BE JUST AS BAD AS, OR EVEN WORSE THAN A PHYSICAL SCAR. WATCH THOSE WORDS.
This is the first issue of Firebreak for 2003 and I must start off by apologizing for the apparent "disapperance" of the newsletter.
The fact is that technical problems with the high volume printer prevented hard copies of Firebreak from being published, but copies of all issues for 2002 were published online and are available by visiting the Brigade's Website at http://www.jamaica-firebrigade.com.
This year we plan to continue in the series "Meet the Staff" which focuses on the personalities within the Brigade, as well as to seek out and bring you interesting stories on fire brigade related matters.
We also continue to invite your submissions on your various activities, and your concerns about matters within the Brigade.
Let us look forward to a prosperous and productive year.
Thought for today
You will accomplish far more by focusing on your abilities instead of your limitations.