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Fire-fighters on Fire Cause Determination Training Course

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October 9, 2002 - Another critical academic area may be added to St.Lucia’s Priority List, if the Minister for Home Affairs and Gender Relations Hon. Sarah Flood Beaubrun, is successful in her endeavour to draw some much needed attention, to the area of Fire Cause Determination.

Presently there are no individuals on the island qualified in the field of Fire Cause Determination and as Minister with responsibility for the St.Lucia Fire Service, this fact does not sit well with the Minister.

“I must say that I am very concerned to learn that there is nobody in St.Lucia who is trained to determine the cause of a fire. It always amazes me the extent to which things that are so important, things that are fundamental are just left without being attended to. Well I don’t give scholarships, I am not solely responsible for ensuring that various subject matters get on the Priority List but I want to give fire officers here today the assurance that I will advocate for you.”

Minister Flood -Beaubrun made those remarks when the Saint Lucia Fire Service opened a ten day introductory course on ‘ Fire Cause Determination ‘ on Tuesday October 8th 2002.

The Chief Fire Officer Augustin Gaspard, said that this shortcoming was indeed too serious to be ignored and could not be allowed to continue for much longer.

“No one within the Fire Service is equipped or qualified to determine the cause of fire. Indeed as far as I am aware there is no one in St.Lucia qualified in Fire Cause Determination. We wish to correct that situation for we will be pursuing vigorously for at least one person from the fire service to be qualified in that field in the not – too –distant future.”

The main facilitator David Lambert - a retired fireman and Director of Training for firemen out of Canada, told the participants that the course content cannot provide full qualification in Fire Cause Determination as this would require the successful completion of a degree programme, however it is a significant step towards continuing studies in this field.

According to Lambert, the general public stands to benefit, when cases of arson are curbed.

“As we cut down on arson, the way this will help the community is it will tend to keep your insurance rates stable instead of allowing them to increase because typically if you have a lot of arson fires which are not identified as such, and if arson is not curtailed insurance rates will essentially go up.”

In addition, Lambert said that as the firemen acquire the training that is needed to ascertain the cause of fires, perpetrators should be successfully brought to justice.

He added , as long as the firemen get the required support, they are expected to make a major difference in the way fire investigations are being conducted.

The programme comprises 25 firemen, six (6) are from neighbouring islands. The course ends on 18th of October 2002.


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