Every year, many areas of Jamaica experience drought conditions. These sometimes last for long periods, causing large areas of vegetation to become very dry.
In these conditions, vegetation will burn quickly, posing serious fire risks. Over the years, severe brush fires have damaged crops, livestock, buildings and general vegetation. This has caused millions of dollars' worth of damage and farm losses. Many persons' livelihoods have become more difficult as a result.
Under such conditions, it is very important to keep flames away from all dried vegetation.
- Never light fires outdoors in dry conditions, even if it seems safe to do so.
- Never throw away lighted cigarettes, coal, firewood etc. without fully dousing them with water or burying securely.
- Be on the lookout for smoke during dry conditions and notify the authorities immediately.
- Spread the word: fires cause hardships and everyone should help protect the community.
- Identify key emergency tasks to be carried out in a fire.
- Assign specific tasks to specific persons in specified agencies or communities.
- Develop written emergency fire plans clearly listing activities, tools/equipment needed, person (s) responsible and give to all emergency-response personnel.
- Develop an annual fire risk-management calendar showing activities and timing based on fire seasons.
- List all contact numbers of all emergency personnel and agencies and give to all emergency-response personnel.
- Conduct fire drills once per year, including schools and key stakeholder groups.
Key Bush-Fire Stakeholders
1. Farmers, farmer groups
2. Fire Department
3. Rapid Response Unit, National Water Commission
4. Parish councils
5. Rural Agricultural Development Authority
6. Social Development Commission
9. Ministry of Health
Information for the RADA Diaries is compiled and provided by the RADA Communication and Public Relations Department. Further information can be had from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) by calling 1-888-ASK-RADA or by logging on to www.rada.gov.jm.