Fire, rescue officers participate in traffic collision course


BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Fourteen fire officers began a week-long course in road traffic collision training to build their life-saving skills. The course began on Monday with a soft opening and will conclude March 9.

The course takes place at the Police Training Complex and involves theoretical and practical training sessions in personal safety; equipment familiarization and care; the team approach; stability; glass management; supplementary restraint systems; vehicle hazards and risks; as well as immobilization and extrication. On Thursday, the participants will be given a written evaluation and an extrication exercise, and then on Friday, the fire officers will take part in a simulation exercise.

Fire Sub-Officer and Course Instructor Darnell Archibald said that the St. Kitts-Nevis Fire and Rescue Services (SKNFRS) found it necessary to enhance the skills of its officers to improve their capabilities in rescuing victims that may be involved in road traffic collisions.

“The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, during the past five years, has [had] an influx of vehicles, which makes the potential for accidents more imminent. For example, in 2017…there were 51 motor vehicle accidents (MVA), whilst in January 2018, there were 60 MVAs,” Archibald explained. “The Fire and Rescue Services made it a priority to ensure that first responders are prepared. In so doing, the course is designed to equip 14 participants with modern techniques and the knowledge required to effectively extricate causalities from motor vehicle accidents.”

The other instructors are Fire Sub-Station Officer Timothy Martin, who Archibald explained is a regional instructor, and Fire Officer Desmond Delashley.

“Mr. Delashley and I attended a Fire Services College in the United Kingdom in 2015, where we attained qualifications in firefighter development core skills, [such as] ladder operations, knots, pumps and hazardous materials, a fire-fighting development programme that refers to structural fire-fighting procedures and techniques, road traffic collisions, casualty care and vehicle extrication.”

The course was officially declared open by Chief Fire Officer Everette O’Garro, who described the training course as the Fire and Rescue Services’ way of taking a proactive approach to being prepared and ready when called upon. “Due to the very nature of your work performed by rescue and firefighting personnel such as yourself, it is extremely critical that you take part in initial and important comprehensive training that will assist you in maintaining skills and techniques that are critical to your daily work,” the Fire Chief Officer said. “ The training you’re about to embark on will do just that. A lot is expected of you. People’s lives literally can be in your hands. Apply yourself, be attentive, be focused and grasp as much as you can over the next…five days.”