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Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 24, 2024 (SKNIS): The fleet of fire appliances servicing the R. L. Bradshaw (R.L.B.) International Airport was increased from three to four following the commissioning of the state-of-the-art 6×6 Rosenbauer Panther on Friday (May 24, 2024), during a ceremony at the R.L.B. Fire Hall.

The new appliance was purchased from Austria through regional agent Indocom Ltd, based in Trinidad and Tobago. It was built to standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and carries a capacity of 3,000 gallons of water, 400 gallons of foam and 500 pounds of dry chemical. The addition of this new truck places the R.L.B. International Airport above the Category nine (9) rating.

Acting Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, noted the government’s commitment to enhance the capabilities of the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services (SKNFRS).

“The acquisition of this new fire truck signals to the international airlines that our airport is fully equipped to respond to aircraft emergencies,” he stated. “Indeed, as we build out our airport infrastructure to accommodate increased flights to St. Kitts and Nevis, there must be a concomitant development of our firefighting capabilities. This truck also provides ground support for fuel spills or even at times can respond to off-airport emergencies as well.”

In addition to the procurement of the vehicle, the government also ensured that the fire officers working with the appliance received training on its operation and maintenance.

“The training that they have undergone involved learning to effectively operate the new truck and equipment in the event of rescuing and saving lives,” said Dr. Hanley. “I would like to commend our Panther Technician, Fire Substation Officer Julio Williams along with Station Officer Tito Rosmond, who were part of the team who travelled to Austria.”

Such knowledge is important, said Dr. Hanley, given that there are plans to expand the facilities of the R. L. B. International Airport. He noted that the government was also working to construct a new headquarters for the SKNFRS.

Acting Fire Chief, Rommel Williams, thanked the government for the continued investment in the SKNFRS. He encouraged the officers to continue their diligence when using the fire appliances adding that “to whom much is given, much is expected.”

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