Saturday 19 September, 2020

Jamaica Fire Brigade better equipped to investigate bush fires

The country’s technical capacity for wildland (bush) fire investigation will be significantly improved following a one-week training of personnel from the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), Jamaica Constabulary Force and Office of the Director for Public Prosecution.

The training held last month, was facilitated by the USAID-funded Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change (Ja REEACH II).

A total of 30 participants received training in Wildland Fire Origin and Cause Determination led by a team from the United States Forest Service (USFS).

The programme will provide a more scientific approach for the investigation of wildland fires.

According to lead instructor Jerry Hepler from the USFS, the training will place attendees on par with wildland fire investigators globally as the training objectives are in alignment with the internationally recognized National Wildfire Coordinating Group. 

Acting Assistant Commissioner and Chief Fire Prevention Officer Floyd McLean, noted the critical importance of the training in improving the fire investigation capacity of the JFB.

“We are scarce with respect to fire investigators. The training will help develop skills in responding to fires as well as identifying the origin of wildland fires. Knowing the origin will assist us to design better firefighting and fire protection strategies. Our fire awareness messages can be coined in a more specific way to educate the public.  The fire fighters in this training will form the core of the fire investigators within the Jamaica Fire Brigade”, explained McLean.

In addition to classroom unit training, trainees participated in field exercises to build on fire investigation skills. Live observation of burnt and pre-burnt plots were used to assess elements of wildland fires including fire pattern indicators, fire scene evidence, ignition factors and sources and arson recognition.

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