An impressive set of skills formed part of a public showcase by fire fighters today at the Arch Hall Fire Station in St. Thomas.
The activity, involving a number of demonstrations of fire fighting and rescue techniques, was part of the observance of Fire Service Week.
Fire service and other government officials, students from the St. James Secondary and Lester Vaughan schools, as well as members of the public were on hand to witness the practical exercises first hand and hear some of the details of the history of the Fire Service’s operations in Barbados.
They were able to witness officers moving through confined spaces with their breathing apparatus, and responses to fires. Most of the excitement though surrounded the rescue and evacuation exercises when officers “ran into difficulty” in a high-rise building that was on fire.
Several fire officers received rousing applause for the “rescues” which involved evacuating “unconscious” or “partially conscious” team mates via ladders and ropes from the building.
The officers themselves showed various evacuation techniques using the ladders, the water hoses and rope by rappelling down the sides of tall buildings.
The Denver 2 rescue technique, the last rescue of the day, was most intricate and precise. Fire officers explained that the technique was devised in the United States after an officer lost his life when he fell into a narrow cupboard like area and ran out of oxygen even as his team mates were trying to rescue him.
It involved an officer running into difficulty in a box-like enclosure and two fellow team mates going in to rescue him. The first officer managed to get the “unconscious” officer into a sitting position so the second rescuer could enter behind him and then aid in lifting him overhead and out of the enclosure.
Though they did not display it, the officers said there was an additional element to the rescue that was devised by officers here in Barbados and then shared with counterparts in the US.
Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall, his Deputy Errol Maynard, along with Head of the Task Force on Crime Prevention, Cheryl Willoughby and officer from her department Modupe Sodeyi, were among the guests on hand for the event which was sponsored mainly by United Insurance. (LB)