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Saint Lucia Fire Service Observes 49th Anniversary

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The Saint Lucia Fire Service (SLFS) is celebrating the forty ninth anniversary of its formation.

Since the first cohort of 85 men was deployed to four stations island wide, fire officers have been on the forefront of life saving efforts, including emergency response and fire prevention advocacy.

“A time for reflection” is how Acting Fire Chief Mr. Ditney Downes describes Thursday’s observance, a sentiment echoed in his anniversary message to fire officers, stating;

The journey has not been easy, and we need to pay homage to all retired firefighters who worked tirelessly to ensure that we inherited a platform that was conducive to assisting us in modernizing the department, thus ensuring that we are able to navigate current and future response challenges.”

Addressing achievements and goals of the organization, the modernization of equipment and progression in the training of ambulance teams was also highlighted by the Acting Fire Chief.

In another departure from the initial structure of the Saint Lucia fire Service, female officers within the staffing complement have moved from 0% in 1974 to 20% in 2023. Work to further expand the number of female employees Mr. Downes says, is ongoing.

To commemorate the occasion, staff were treated at stations island wide, with an expression of appreciation for the sacrifices made and risk faced.

Commenting on the momentous occasion being celebrated, Permanent Secretary in the Department of Home Affairs, Dr. Elizabeth Bailey lauded the work of fire officers, noting;

“  Today, September 14, 2023, marks the 49th anniversary of the Saint Lucia Fire Service. The Fire Service makes a vital contribution to the people and visitors of Saint Lucia by ensuring safety and citizen security, through fire prevention, firefighting, emergency services, and the protection of life and property.  The fight fighter places country before self and risks his or her life daily to protect the Saint Lucian public. Hence, on the occasion of their 49th anniversary, we would like to show our appreciation to these men and women who go beyond the call of duty to save lives and to keep us safe.” 

On the cusp of a ‘golden jubilee’ – the 50th anniversary of establishment – in 2024 the organization is expected to celebrate the observance in a manner befitting the milestone.

Minister for Home Affairs Dr. Virginia Albert Poyotte extended congratulations to the officers of the Saint Lucia Fire Service on the observance stating;

“On the occasion of the 49th anniversary of the Saint Lucia Fire Service, I want to congratulate the honored men and women of the Saint Lucia Fire Service who have been out there providing safety and security for our citizens. I wan to commend them, for the excellent work that they have been doing and I want to encourage them to continue to take their work seriously, to continue to develop themselves professionally, to develop their skills so they actually will continue to perform even better than they are performing now. There is always scope for improvement in whatever you do. So at this point the Government and people of Saint Lucia are very proud of our firefighters, and we wish them very well as they continue to celebrate their 49th anniversary, and we look forward to the big 50th anniversary.”

Expressing gratitude to the Government of Saint Lucia for the support extended to the Saint Lucia Fire Service, the Fire Chief (Ag) described the assistance received as further propelling plans for the continued development of the organization.

SOURCE: Department of Home Affairs

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