Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 12, 2021 (SKNIS): The days when a firefighter’s main role was responding to a structure fire are done and the scope of what a fire department does has expanded to include accidents, medical emergencies, inspections, lectures to name a few, said officers within St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services (SKNFRS) during the May 12 edition of “Working for You”.
“The role of a firefighter is evolving, and we have been cross-trained in different areas such as first aid, the medical field, and so there are times when we would assist the EMS service at that point when we had the ambulance and so we have to be trained in different areas,” said Rommel Williams, Fire Sub-Station Officer Level II from the SKNFRS. “We have to be kept up-to-speed with the modern technology and the changes in techniques, so we don’t have much time now to just sit down and play dominoes. We have to work and make sure that when we respond we respond as professionals so that people can be comfortable and reassured that the persons coming know what they are doing,” he added.
Mr. Williams said when they are not busy fighting fires, they are spending more time out in the community raising awareness, conducting business and residential fire safety checks, and communicating fire prevention and other safety messages.
“When we are not able to train, we have to go out and do inspections of business and residential properties. We assist different agencies; we assist the health department and the schools in different areas. So, we don’t just sit down and wait for you to call and say you have a fire. That is not what we do,” said Mr. Williams.
The Fire Sub-Station Officer Level II said that there are days when firefighters get to relax.
“There must be some recreation. It cannot be all work and persons need to understand that,” he said. “Back in the day, before we joined, persons even from outside came to the fire department because there was a greater sense of community. So, persons would come into the station and play dominoes with the guys there because they understood that the guys would have had a rough day and need to relax.”
Timothy Martin, Fire Sub-Station Officer from the SKNFRS shared similar sentiments adding that throughout the day firefighters will respond to many different calls of service. He said that there is never a typical day at the fire department as each day or 24-hour shift brings firefighters new training, opportunities, and challenges.