EIGHTEEN senior fire officers of the St. Lucia Fire Service are currently undergoing a training programme in Swift Water Rescue and Vehicle Extrication at the St. Lucia Fire Service Training School in Vieux Fort.
The two-week workshop is being conducted by local fire officers, who were last year trained by fire officers of the Mississaugua Fire and Emergency Services of Canada, who are back here to oversee the training programme.
According to Ditney Downes, Divisional Officer of the St. Lucia Fire Service, the training will go a long way in assisting the local firefighters to deal with the various emergency situations which they are confronted with on a regular basis.
“We have seen a spike in vehicular accident over the years. This training programme will help us to deal with it more effectively,” he said.
Downes said because of the exorbitant cost of training in firefighting, the fire department is unable to send their member oversees to undertake such training.
“Training in firefighting is very expensive. Our budget is too small for us to train our staff oversees,” Downes lamented, adding that over the years there have been a decline in their budget.
However, according to Downes, despite the departments’ financial constraints, it is always seeking innovative ways to properly train its staff.
“It is very challenging for us to fulfill our training programme, but we are trying our best,” Downes said.
According to him, firefighting skills are dynamic and there is an urgent need for the department to keep abreast with its various techniques.
“New techniques are constantly evolving, so we need to be properly trained,” he said.
Downes took the opportunity to thank the Canadian fire officers for their assistance to the St. Lucia Fire Service which he said is greatly appreciated.