Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 28, 2018 (SKNIS): The fire and rescue capabilities at the Robert L. Bradshaw (R.L.B.) International Airport in St. Kitts have been enhanced with the commissioning of a new 4×4 Rosenbauer Panther Appliance on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.
The new vehicle has a water tank that holds 1,500 gallons, and a storage capacity for 200 gallons of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) – which is specially-designed to extinguish hydrocarbon fuel fires. It is also equipped with a dry chemical complementary extinguishing agent system that holds up to 500 pounds. The chemical is designed to extinguish metal fires involving the undercarriage of aircrafts. The fire truck was designed and constructed by Rosenbauer America and costs more than US$625,000.
Chief Fire Officer, Everette O’Garro, noted that the appliance is specially designed to meet the demands of the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services (SKNFRS), and is well equipped to “deal with any aircraft accident or incident occurring at or in the immediate vicinity” of the island’s only airport.
The appliance increases the number of fire tenders stationed exclusively at R.L.B. to four. It also means that an additional requirement to increase the rating of the facility by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) from Category 8 to 9 has been met. A higher rating essentially means that the requirements of larger aircrafts can safely be met at an airport in the event of an emergency.
“More airlines will be attracted to our shores thus creating an opportunity for greater development,” Fire Station Officer, Lennox Griffin, stated while referring to the economic spinoffs for the country.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Osmond Petty, said that the SKNFRS is an important facet of the national security apparatus and government remains committed to upgrading the equipment and the capabilities of the men and women within the agency.
The new Panther Appliance is the third vehicle purchased by the government in the past three years for the SKNFRS. In June 2016, two new appliances were presented to the men and women for use in the Basseterre and Sandy Point areas. They were purchased at a combined cost of EC$2 million. Funds were also included in the 2018 Budget to purchase a vehicle to serve Tabernacle and surrounding communities.
Training opportunities for the fire fighters are being pursued at the Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute in Canada, as well as the South Carolina Fire Academy in the United States.