Montserrat Fire Service Piloting New Training Standards for Caribbean

Local officials with the visiting instructors for the Pre-Hospital Trauma Care course. (Nerissa Golden Photo)
Local officials with the visiting instructors for the Pre-Hospital Trauma Care course. (left to right: Acting Assistant. Fire Chief Vachel Murrain, Fire Chief Andre West, Police Commissioner Steve Foster, Hon. Acting Min. of Education David Osborne, Fire Chief Gregory Richards (USVI), Fire Chief Josiah Dupuis (Dominica), and Chief Instructor Assistant Fire Chief Modestus John-Baptiste. (Nerissa Golden Photo)

BRADES – A one-month training programme for all officers of the Royal Montserrat Fire Service began on Monday, September 28, 2015 at the Police Headquarters in Brades.

Chief Instructor Assistant Chief Modestus John-Baptiste said over the coming weeks of intensive work the officers will be re-certified in basic Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), Emergency Medical Response (EMR) and International Trauma Life Support Training (ITLS). The fire service will also be trained on Pre-Hospital Trauma Care which has been identified as an urgent need since the department provides all emergency and transportation services for the local hospital.

Chief Gregory Richards, President of Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs and Training Coordinator said he wants to see Montserrat play a greater role in how the Caribbean fire services respond to emergencies. He said he wanted the Caribbean to lead on emergency responses to incidents across the region, which is currently not the case.

The training, Chief Richards noted will enable the Montserrat fire service to handle emergencies locally as well as support those on other islands as in the case of Dominica. The fire chief commended the local service for its participation in assisting Dominica after the passage of Tropical Storm Erika which caused loss of lives and millions of dollars in damages.

John-Baptiste said it was an ambitious undertaking to set training standards for the entire Caribbean but the time to do so is now. He commended Montserrat Fire Chief Andre West and the officers for taking the lead in beginning the process. The intention is that the officers will then be capable of training new staff to the same standards.

Two officers from Dominica are also attending the course.

The Governor’s Office provided EC$68,500 for the course through its Jubilee/Delegation Fund. Head of the Governor’s Office Tony Bates said they were pleased to support the course which will advance the preparedness of the island’s ability to handle emergencies. Other local projects for the Disaster Management Coordination Agency and the Montserrat Red Cross which also deal with emergency preparedness are to be funded as well.

The Honourable Acting Minister of Education and Health, David Osborne said the course was of great importance, noting that it was the quick response of emergency officers in the early 80s which saved his life following an accident.