C’dian Firefighters Help Local Counterparts
9 July 2020
The Department of External Affairs has officially handed over two fire trucks to the Saint Lucia Fire Service.
The trucks were donated by Firefighters Without Borders (FWB) Canada. FWB is a registered charitable organization based in Toronto. It recently donated personal protective equipment like bunker gear, helmets, self-contained breathing devices and personal alert safety systems to the Saint Lucia Fire Service.
Chief Fire Officer Joseph Joseph said the equipment received will assist the Fire Service with its duties. One of the trucks has already been put to use.
He said: “I am pleased say that with the kind assistance of Firefighters Without Borders, preparations have commenced for the establishment of a training facility in the south of the island. The proposed structure will be constructed out of steel shipping containers appropriately modified to allow for fire suppression training. We are thankful to the management of Invest Saint Lucia and Saint Lucia Air and Seaports Authority (SLASPA) for their kind assistance in approving a site for this structure. It is indisputable that the partnership which the Saint Lucia Fire Service shares with FWB is definitely a blessing to our members and by extension the people of Saint Lucia.”
Consul General Cheryl Francis worked closely with the team at Firefighters Without Borders to facilitate the transfer of the vehicles to Saint Lucia. Metro Logistics Inc. sponsored the shipment of one of the vehicles, while KLC Shipping, an entity owned by Saint Lucian entrepreneur and Goodwill Ambassador Mr. Ken Chitolie, facilitated the shipping of the other along with the Department of External Affairs.
Minister for Home Affairs, Justice and National Security, Hermangild Francis said that with limited resources and the ongoing war against COVID-19 the donation could not have been more timely. He said: “In the face of all these challenges our fire service must go on. Some of our appliances were coming on in age and obviously this necessitated timely replacements. We welcome Firefighters Without Borders’ donation of these brand new appliances. And to firefighters islandwide, I thank you also for your dedication at this challenging time. You have dealt with the pandemic very courageously, and you have managed to do this almost seamlessly and without any interruptions to service. Hats off to you.”
The Minister with responsibility for External Affairs, Sarah Flood-Beaubrun attended a March 7 Independence event in Toronto, where she was able to personally thank the team from Firefighters Without Borders.
She said: “We are now in discussions with the Government of Canada to see how they can continue to help, so I just want to take this opportunity to say how very grateful Saint Lucia is for the generosity of our friends.”
The Consul General highlighted the work of Frank Lamie and Craig Dockeray, President and Vice President of FWB, as well as former President Mr. Russ Chalmers as being critical to the support that Saint Lucia has received thus far from the group.
Firefighters Without Borders and the Saint Lucia Fire Service are currently working on a series of initiatives, including the development of a training facility.
Vice President of FWB, Craig Dockeray, said: “The partnership we have with the Saint Lucia Fire Service goes back several years now, having conducted a few training projects together. We are thrilled to have been able to donate the two fire trucks and we hope that they will help the fire fighters in Saint Lucia protect all Saint Lucians in the future.”