by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): International Firefighters Day recognises the sacrifices of all firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty and also to show appreciation to firefighters for their selfless contributions.
In observance of International Firefighters Day, May 04 fire officers attached to the fire stations in St.Kitts took to the streets to partake in the Fire Chief Run. The run is held annually as part of a Week of Activities organised by the St.Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services (SKNFRS).
The officers started the run at the Basseterre Fire Headquarters, jogged through the streets of Basseterre and back to the Headquarters under the escort of the fire appliance.
According to Timothy Martin, Fire Sub Station Officer in the St.Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services, the International Firefighters Day was first commemorated on January 4th, 1999 due to the death of five (5) firefighters at the scene of a bushfire in Australia, a year prior. The officers were part of a team that were called to the scene to provide mutual aid, but as the crew headed into the hot zone, the wind suddenly changed direction and the truck was engulfed in flames, killing all five firefighters.
Meanwhile, the SKNFRS have been maximising its efforts in ensuring that the community is informed about fire safety awareness; through various forms, fire inspections and presentations at business, homes and schools, as well as fire prevention talk shows on local radio stations.
The data from the organisation shows a steady decline in fires in recent years. There were 695 fires in 2019, 643 fires in 2020, 618 in 2021 and 510 in 2022.