A Saint Lucia Fire Service (SLFS) senior official says the COVID-19 pandemic has had a ‘great’ psychological impact on emergency responders.
“It has been a trying time for our officers,” says Station Officer Anwar Deterville. But he disclosed that because the COVID-19 cases in Saint Lucia are coming down, SLFS responses are less.
“However, we have situations where officers have had to deal with personal issues with parents who have unfortunately passed away because of COVID,” Deterville told reporters.
“And these individuals also have to still respond to COVID so the psychological toll on the officers has been great,” he noted.
Deterville told reporters that the SLFS has partnered with the authorities to assist affected emergency responders.
Nevertheless, he explained that emergency responders still experienced mental and psychological issues in responding to COVID-19 calls in the past few months.
On the issue of COVID-19 cases among SLFS staff, Deterville explained that the numbers have come down.
“But we are still on our guard so we still use our current protocols because COVID is still out there and I would like to inform the public in the same regard that COVID is still out there so the protocols are still required,” the senior SLFS official stated.
“We find in situations where we have vehicle collisions the public comes around us and sometimes they don’t have masks – they don’t respect the six-foot distance,” he revealed.
“So I would like to put it out there to the public that we’re still dealing with COVID and they still have to observe the protocols,” Deterville said.
While disclosing that he could not speak to specific road accidents data, he said there had been a ‘slight increase’ in vehicle collisions in the North of Saint Lucia.
Deterville said that traditionally, the SLFS had recorded vehicle collision spikes about an hour before or after curfew.
“I can only assume that’s related to people trying and get off the road,” he expressed.