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Performance Audit Report – Jamaica Fire Brigade (Management of Fire Prevention Activites)

Published on Sep 05, 2023

Local Government, Performance Audit Reports

Jamaica Fire Brigade
Audit Type
Performance Audit
Local Government
Governance and Resource Management
Scheduled Publication
4th Quarter (January to March 2023)

In 2014, we conducted a performance audit of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) which assessed the effectiveness and efficiency of JFB’s fire prevention; firefighting; rescue and emergency medical services, as well as its fire regulation and enforcement mechanisms. The audit found that the high incidence of out of service emergency vehicles affected JFB’s ability to carry out its firefighting activities, emergency medical care and rescue services. Additionally, JFB was not adequately managing its fire prevention activities to minimize injuries, loss of lives and damage to properties. I therefore commissioned this audit to determine the progress made to date by JFB in improving its operations and systems of internal controls as well as the implementation of my 2014 recommendations.

I found that JFB has made significant improvements in its operations and partially implemented three of the four 2014 recommendations. Whereas JFB has stepped up building inspections between 2017-2018 to 2021-2022, follow-up inspections for non-conformities have been minimal, with only 49 (10 per cent) follow ups from a sample of 500 buildings that were identified with breaches. Additionally, the level of fire investigations was a mere one per cent of reported fires over the review period, while the ratio of out of commission vehicles was relatively high, although somewhat improved relative to the 2014 audit. However, I cannot overstate the importance of the need for JFB to improve its governance practices. The delay in preparation and non-submission of annual reports and audited financial statements for the period 2019-2020 to 2021-2022 is not only a breach of the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act (PBMA) and the Fire Brigade Act, but also undermines the oversight responsibilities of the Portfolio Ministry and Parliament. Nonetheless, I note that JFB was able to fully implement six of 15 recommendations from its latest National Fire and Rescue Cover and partially implemented five.



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