BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Emergency response training, exercises and classes were recently completed by the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force, National Emergency Management Agency, and St. Kitts and Nevis Fire Rescue Services (SKNFRS).
The activities were conducted by four members of Florida National Guard’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High Yield Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (C-ERFP) supporting the State Partnership Program (SPP). The training classes were based on the Emergency Response Guidebook with a focus on hazmat placards.
“With the slogan of ‘Follow Your Heart,’ St. Kitts and Nevis welcomes growth as a popular tourist destination,” said Sgt. 1st Class Robby E. Creech, a team lead with the C-ERFP and member of the 868th Engineer Company. “Due to this development, the island receives numerous freight shipments via its ports to support the booming industry. Some of these shipments contain hazardous materials, thus making it critical for the St. Kitts & Nevis’s emergency response agencies to know how to respond to any possible chemical environment.”
According to Sgt. Creech, “We want to make sure they are up to speed with the placards, and what they mean and how to respond to any hazard material incident,” said Sgt. 1st Class Robby E. Creech, a team lead with the C-ERFP and member of the 868th Engineer Company. “When you see a placard, it will give you a color and number and in the guidebook, it lets you know the standoff distance– if it affects how you breathe or if it is something that is airborne.”
Creech and his team of subject-matter-experts educated the local agencies on how to manage potential hazards, public safety (to include protective clothing and evacuation), fire, spill or leak and first aid.
“It isn’t just about teaching them the information. It is also about educating them on how to find out information,” said Creech. “If a hazmat emergency were to strike, [they] can leverage the guidebook. The guidebook really breaks it down step-by-step.”
Although St. Kitts and Nevis have endured little to no hazmat incidents, members of the local fire department highly value the training.
“You never know when something could happen,” said Erickson Isaac, a supervisor with the SKNFRS. “You can only be so careful, so you always need to be on your game. It really goes a long way.”
After the successful training sessions on the last day for the FLNG Soldiers of the St. Kitts and Nevis SPP mission, members from local agencies are already moving forward with additional requests for more training in the near future.
“They want us to return and give more in-depth training. During this trip, we were able to baseline their training, and hope to get more in-depth on our next trip here,” said Creech. “I would love to come back. We have really enjoyed the people and the scenery.”