Firefighters at the May Pen fire station in Clarendon are operating from improved facilities, which will better enable them to carry out their job to protect lives and property.
Through funds provided by the Department of Local Government, Central Clarendon Member of Parliament, Hon. Michael Henry, and the May Pen business community, the firemen laboured for more than two years to construct an administrative block, comprised of four offices, three bathrooms, storeroom and dining area.
The project, which began in 2008 and was completed late 2010, was spearheaded by Custos of Clarendon, Hon. William Shagoury. The firemen have been using the facilities since January.
At the official opening ceremony on Wednesday (September 21), State Minister with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Shahine Robinson, lauded the work done, which she said, demonstrated the value of community action.
“This new administrative block, which we are opening today, was done through the bridge-building efforts of the men and women of the community, who care about the men and women of the Jamaica Fire Brigade,” she stated.
The State Minister also highlighted the need for more community participation in the firefighting awareness programmes. These programmes, she said “are not devised only for our youth, schools and other agencies, they are also geared at our adults, particularly our parents and guardians.”
Minister Henry, in his remarks, praised the firemen for “working to improve your own circumstance.”
“By making your own contribution (you have) set an example for many to rally to help themselves rather than totally relying on Government. I congratulate you wholeheartedly,” he stated.
Providing background to the project, Commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Laurie Williams, said that during a monthly senior management meeting, the cramped working conditions at the May Pen fire station was the subject of discussion.
“I challenged officers to work with staff and to present me with a workable plan to utilise the available land space to the benefit of the staff, members of the public, and the organisation,” he informed.
Assistant Commissioner of the Brigade with responsibility for Clarendon, John Forrester, who co-ordinated the project, said that except for the roofing, which was contracted out, the improvement work was done by the brigade staff, assisted by friends.