Ropes along slopes for climb, rescue trainees


ST. EUSTATIUS–This week team members of the St. Eustatius and Saba Fire Departments continue their climb-and-rescue training by traversing from a cliff edge near the Red Cross building down along a 200-foot slope.

Ron Mobley and Dwayne Strawn from the Caribbean Emergency Responders Training Academy said that trainees have done extremely well to master the ropes and the techniques involved.

“However, our safety ‘daredevils’ will still have to pass a written test if they want to become climb-and-rescue professionals,” explained Mobley.


“This week’s training will enable them to traverse along a maximum 400-foot-length ravine. They then have to strap the injured person into a stretcher before carefully hoisting him or her to where medical services can take over.”

One firefighter-observer on the training course is Petra Lens. Lens has worked 13 years for Statia’s Fire Department and is looking forward to her training session.

“I work in a man’s world and I love it,” says Lens. “I get the same treatment as the guys, the same training as the guys, and the same salary. It is an exciting profession. Most people think that firefighters sit around all day waiting for the alarm to sound. Nothing can be further from the truth,” she said.

“We have at least one hour fitness per day alongside constant checks on equipment and fire drills. We also have to give fire precaution advice to the community and to those who are responsible for all kinds of buildings and properties on the Historical Gem.”

Even when Lens is off duty she is still on call. “When the alarm goes off at the Fire Department, so does my mobile phone. We jump into action immediately. I adore the personal and community challenge of this job. André Bennett, our Fire Chief, runs a tight team because discipline can make all the difference in saving lives whilst putting out fires.”

Source: The Daily Herald