Fire and rescue equipment received through a project spearheaded by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Fire and Rescue Services in St. Kitts received much needed equipment to increase the efficiency of its operations through the Japan Grant Aid for Economic and Social Development spearheaded by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) at a brief Handing Over Ceremony held Monday at the Basseterre Fire Station.

Four portable fire pumps and 15 fire protective suits were presented to Chief Fire Officer, Everette O’Garro, who thanked NEMA for its part in facilitating the grant that made it possible for the institution to receive the equipment.

“I want to thank the officials at NEMA who were instrumental in this programme. As Mrs. Stevens would have indicated, it took almost three years of back and forth negotiations and emails in order to bring forth the result that you are seeing here today, and we are really thankful. We also want to thank the persons who were involved from the Japanese Grant Aid Project for what we consider to be very important and critical pieces of equipment that have been delivered to us here today. I want to assure persons and everyone here present that the equipment would be used in the best possible form and will help us to achieve our goals and objectives at the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services which is to safeguard and protect the lives of citizens and the general public,” he said.

He said the bunker gears are vital in everyday operations and considered to be one the first lines of protection for officers, and noted they can protect from injury and chemical spills.

The Fire Chief was also impressed with the portable water pumps, saying they can be as effective as the fire appliances once a water source is present. He said after an initial inspection of the equipment, they knew right away it was of the highest standard.

Deputy Disaster Coordinator at NEMA, Claricia Langley-Stevens explained the project initiated by NEMA was managed and monitored through the Japan International Cooperation System (JICS), who worked closely with the Ministry of Finance and Foreign Affairs. The project benefited the Ministry of Health and the Fire Services, as well as NEMA.

She added following the distribution of the equipment, fire officers will undergo a two-day training to ensure that they are educated on its proper use.