Manpower shortage ‘dangerously serious’ in SLFS

Manpower shortage ‘dangerously serious’ in SLFS

The manpower shortage in the Saint Lucia Fire Service (SLFS) has been described by the President of the Saint Lucia Fire Service Association, Shane Felix, as being ‘dangerously serious.’

Felix told the Times that the manpower shortage has created a very unhealthy environment.

He expressed the view that the worst case scenario occurs at fire service headquarters.

According to the Chairman of the Fire Service Association, headquarters has equipment  requiring at least nineteen people to man them.

He explained that the  requirement of nineteen persons does not make accommodation for sick leave, time off and vacation.

As a result Felix asserted that more than nineteen persons are required.

“We currently have a staff complement of just eight persons,” Felix told the Times.

He said the situation forces persons to do double or triple duties with devastating effects on them.

Felix declared that staff members are overworked.

“It is very stressful, morale is very low and people are frustrated – it is really a very unhealthy environment,” he told the Times.

He stated that it would take the injection of quite a number of persons for the Fire Service to perform at optimum.

Felix recalled that there was a 2006 feasibility study on correcting the staffing issues.

“The employer started by removing uniformed staff from civilian duties and replacing them with civilians, but after that was done they stopped,” he said.

He observed that the last recruitment for the Fire Service was done in 2009.

“That tells you how far back we have had people coming in,” Felix noted.

He said people have been leaving the service through resignations, transfers, retirement and other means.

“It is very terrible,” Felix lamented.

He pointed out that their were persons at the airport stations who, after the airports are closed, have to report to domestic stations to assist with duties there.

Felix revealed that other staff who have already completed their shifts stay back to assist with the manpower shortage.

“What’s even sadder than that is we don’t seem to see the sort of empathy, understanding and consideration from our senior officers – everybody just seems to be concerned about themselves  and what they can get from the department,” he told the Times.

Felix recalled a recent shutdown at the Gros Islet fire station, observing that the situation had occurred twice in the space of three weeks.

He observed that the Micoud station had also been shut down prior to the shutdown of Gros Islet station.

“I am telling you, this thing is very serious,” Felix stated.

He said a batch of trainees who began training last month will make no difference to the manpower situation since a new station at Babonneau is scheduled to come on stream.

“If you were to take those forty persons, they would basically serve as just three shifts for one station; so image those persons are placed at Babonneau, they will only be able to man Babonneau,” Felix explained.

He said the employer must understand that the SLFS needs ‘significant recruitment’ with permanent as well as auxiliary staff.

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9 Comments

  1. The Crow
    December 14, 2016 at 1:56 pm Reply

    I will reiterate, this, felix, must be fired! I rest my case . . . but then again, there were those who figured he was the right man to stick it to KENNY! BOOM Take dat!

    1. Thebest
      December 14, 2016 at 3:06 pm Reply

      What does you foolish opinion of felix have to do with manpower shortage? Sound like one of the arrogant managers who are fixated on sabotaging government

    2. 357magnum
      December 14, 2016 at 6:45 pm Reply

      crow on what grounds are you requesting the dismissal of “this, felix”
      why are you so politically charged and biased?
      why can you not stick to the issues?
      the issue is all about lack of manpower, so please make some intelligent comments. please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Anonymous
    December 14, 2016 at 2:25 pm Reply

    prisoners should be pulled in to fill vacancies.there are many men who just sit all day and eat and sleep,pull them into duty.just place four officers with orders to kill,if they try to break away,making sure all officers have Uzi’s,this way you would have no shortage of firemen,and paying them is cheap few cents a day.

    1. Fire
      December 14, 2016 at 3:08 pm Reply

      No comments. The department needs men. 4 persons cannot do the job of 15 and not expect them to burn out eventually

  3. Joblo
    December 14, 2016 at 3:35 pm Reply

    The fire department definitely needs additional man power but that does take away the fact that some firemen/women are taking advantage of the current situation. So it’s a two way street management have to play there party as well as the firemen/women

  4. Anonymous
    December 14, 2016 at 5:45 pm Reply

    FSA understood that if Kenny had regained power the entire management would have been gone on the public interest. Why can’t the new government consider that. This is because management has continued to fail and even with the recent ones added, they have no idea about how to manage this fire service. Why not consider those that are qualified ? Government has carry out an audit into management asap.

  5. Anonymous
    December 14, 2016 at 6:48 pm Reply

    you can easily take 10men or woman out of prison for a few hours to put a fire out that a good idea,but like you say keep several cops on them with machine guns,and you don’t have to bother paying them anything,they be glad to get out door for several hours,and you ain’t got no benefit to pay either.whoever got that idea but it on the head,those idiot’s sitten there well we pay for there meals,need to give a lot back. put them prisoners to work.

  6. Anonymous
    December 17, 2016 at 9:13 pm Reply

    Crow you need to shut up; you do not understand the procedures and process of the fire servive and i applaud mr shane for speaking out. it may just be your life they not be able to save because of low man power shortage.
    The govemnet cannot be putting the men and women of the slfs under such stress. HAVE SOME RESPECT FOR HEALTH AND FIRE WORKERS AND APPRECIATE THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS !!!! SMART a$$$$

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