Tue | Jul 23, 2024

JFB participates in inaugural World Fire Congress

Published:Thursday | June 20, 2024 | 12:50 AM
Stewart Beckford, commissioner, Jamaica Fire Brigade.
Stewart Beckford, commissioner, Jamaica Fire Brigade.

The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) was among several fire departments to participate in the inaugural World Fire Congress (WFC), held recently in Washington, DC. The WFC was hosted by the United States Fire Administration and brought together several fire chiefs from across the world to discuss and seek solutions to common global challenges.

Some 56 countries, 60 territories and more than 300 delegates participated in the Congress, which saw Jamaica and Barbados representing the Caribbean.

The Congress focused on four major challenges faced by firefighters globally – structure fire and firefighter response, climate change impact, fire risk and emerging technology, and firefighter health and safety.

It also featured research presentations from several experts, including scientists, doctors and professors.

In an interview with JIS News, Commissioner Stewart Beckford, JFB, welcomed the staging of the WFC, noting that it provided an opportunity to learn best practices being utilised in other countries.

“We found it to be very informative and a lot of lessons would have been learned. We would have learned things that we can implement here in our own fire department to make things that much better for our firefighters,” said Commissioner Beckford.

He pointed out that of the topics discussed, climate change was one that garnered a lot of discussion among the delegates.

“All who were there, we are facing the same challenge in terms of climate change. So, the rising temperature, more intense bushfires, flooding, landslides – all these things are common to all the representatives [who attended the Congress],” the Commissioner added.

Beckford, who attended the Congress along with Assistant Commissioner Andrew Russell, noted that participating in the 2024 WFC was the highlight of his career.

“For us, the takeaway, and probably from me personally, is the fact that there is an acknowledgement on the part of developed countries that there is an urgent need to pay attention to what is happening in developing countries, which are least prepared to deal with these areas of concern,” said the commissioner.

The next World Fire Congress will be hosted in 2026 by the United Kingdom.