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Protecting the elderly


Geneva Drakes tests the smoke detector held by Fire officer Husbands, while DEO Vulnerable Persons Coordinator Julianna Moore looks on.

Five vulnerable elderly persons in the Redman’s Village, St. Thomas were on the receiving end of the services of three agencies today as they prepared them to cope with fires.

The five residents – Geneva Drakes, 87; Frank Clarke, 77; Mertil Nicholls, 79; Mertil St. Hill, 80, and Dorothy Hunte, 80 – were identified though a community profile by the St. James Central District Emergency Organisation, which was completed in January with the intention of mapping out vulnerable areas and people, identifying fire hydrants, and mapping roads for the purpose of emergency access.

Chairman of the DEO, Selwyn Brooks, along with the Coordinator of the Vulnerable Persons project, Julianna Moore, fire officers Carlos Husbands and Kenneth Hunte of the Fire Prevention Unit and Assistant Director of the National Assistance Board, Andrew Browne, visited the area this morning to talk with the residents and install the smoke detectors, while giving information and instructions to the occupants and caregivers of the respective homes.

Husbands noted that Redman’s Village was one of the areas the unit had planned to visit to install some of the more than 500 smoke detectors in their possession, but they had not gotten around to all the areas.


Chairman of the St. James Central DEO, Selwyn Brooks.

He said the profiles of the St. James Central organisation had helped considerably in reducing the time it would have taken to get around to all of the individuals visited today, as normally the unit was only furnished with a name and general district where the person was located. They would then have to visit the neighbourhood and try to find the person through other residents in the area.

Moore said too that there were other persons on the list to be visited at a later date, while Brooks said that there were also plans to begin marking the fire hydrants for easy access by the Fire Service, but that would also be done at a later date with the assistance of fire officials.

“Our community profile for this area was completed in early January of this year. We were able to identify all of the hydrants, all of the wells; we have it mapped and that information will be shared with the Drainage Division with the hope that we can establish a relationship with the unit that we can have a history on how the wells are functioning.

“We also had the opportunity to speak to some of the residents and let them tell us what were some of the deficiencies, where the water comes from and those sorts of things.

“The vulnerable persons [list] is an integral part of our response because … it give us information as to those persons that we would want to respond to if something happens. B’s [Recycling] fire was a perfect example and the persons on our vulnerable list that we know are asthmatics, we were able to dispatch a DEO to go to their homes to see how they were and if condition merited that we needed to take them out of the area. Three of them we took them out of the area… So that shows that a profile such as this has its uses,” said Brooks. (LB)

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