Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 20, 2018 (SKNIS): Four hundred and eighty two children are now junior fire officers having successfully graduated from the 16thAnnual Summer Safety Programme, which concluded at the Basseterre Fire Station on Friday (July 20).


Coordinator Lesroy Caines indicated that 76 children, between the ages of 05 to 12 years, attended the Nevis programme held from July 09 to 13, 2018, at the Jessups Community Centre. The St. Kitts leg, held in Basseterre, Tabernacle and Sandy Point from July 16 to 20, attracted 406 boys and girls, who learned about fire safety, traffic safety, water safety, disaster mitigation and resisting crime and violence.


The atmosphere at Friday’s closing ceremony at the Basseterre Fire Station had a mix of excitement and disappointment as the children were all enthused to be together but sad that the programme was ending.


At the ceremony, eight children were recognized for outstanding participation and given an appropriate honorary rank along with a plaque.  They were identified as Chavon Parris, 9, Junior Fire Chief, and Lekeisha Clarke, 9, Junior Deputy Fire Chief of the Nevis programme. For the Basseterre programme they were Jahdiel Ali, 9, Junior Fire Chief, and Tyler Maynard, 7, Junior Deputy Fire Chief. At the Tabernacle Camp, Josiah Davis, 10, was the Junior Fire Chief, while Tamia Lopez was the Deputy Fire Chief. From the sessions in Sandy Point, the Junior Fire Chief was Glenya Leader, 9, while Tyler Maynard, 7, was the Junior Deputy Fire Chief.


The children shared some thoughts about the camp. Chavon Parris said that the programme was good and he had a lot of fun. Parris added that the march in Nevis that commemorated the 15th anniversary of the programme there was very special and he felt proud during the parade through the streets. Josiah Davis said the fire safety tips stood out to him and he was very excited when handling a fire extinguisher during live demonstration sessions.


Tamia Lopez embraced the road safety aspect. “You get to learn about the zebra crossing and the pelican crossing,” she said. The latter is the crossing facilitated by traffic lights. “You can’t just walk over there (across the road) when the light is red. You have to wait until the man (figure) comes on in order for you to walk.”


Glenya Leader’s advice for persons in a house that is on fire was to “get out quickly.”  Tyler Maynard said he shared similar tips with his friends after the daily sessions. “If you are in a burning building, like how smoke rises, you stay low and you go, and get out and stay out.”


Shamra Powell, a resident of Dieppe Bay, said the messages from the safety programme clearly resonated with the children. Two of her children and a nephew attended the five-day camp.


“Every day they came back with something new,” she stated. “The first day that they went [to camp] they came back with an old saying about fire – “fire is a good servant but a bad master” and they never forgot that. … When they came home, I would say what did you learn today and they were always willing to tell me something and they were excited.”


The parent said that “the fire camp is one of the best camps. It is their first time attending and I have no regrets.”


The positive feedback from her children and the excitement witnessed at the closing ceremony has motivated her to recruit new participants for the 2019 Summer Safety Programme.  The programme is coordinated by the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Service.