Tuesday 19 March, 2019

Firefighters training for aircraft fires in Vieux Fort

Ditney Downes

Ditney Downes

The Saint Lucia Fire Service has undertaken a drive to recertify some of its ranks on airport rescue and firefighting.

In an interview with Loop News, Divisional Officer, Ditney Downes described the program as very important, adding that it is an international requirement. “We have to keep our skills current,” he said.

Downes said according to international regulations, firefighters must undergo such exercise every 24 months during which they will be subjected to live fire training which should simulate the risk associated in an aircraft crash.

“The fire department has a responsibility to follow such regulations and that’s what we are presently doing,” Downes said.

He said the firefighters who are targeted to do the program which is taking place at the Saint Lucia Fire Service Training School in Vieux-Fort, are those who work on the airport and those who have undergone aircraft firefighting training. He added that that number amounts to 85 % of the population of the fire department.

According to Downes, upon competition of the program, the officers in charge of the various shifts will attend a workshop to deal with the shortcomings of the program. He said this will be done in order to ensure that the officers are competent to perform the duties for which they were trained.

“Aircraft firefighting is a specialized part of firefighting… so over the years, we have developed a core of competent instructors in Saint Lucia,” Downes said, adding that Saint Lucia’s basic firefighting program is one of the best in the Caribbean.

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