CFS support continues for Pacific neighbours
The SA Country Fire Service (CFS) is continuing its support of the Republic of Kiribati with a recent supply of fire truck spare parts, personal protective clothing (PPC) and surplus webcams.
The CFS has participated in a mentoring program with the independent island nation since 2016, and has helped the remote community of 120,000 upskill their previous resources to develop a highly coordinated emergency service.
Four CFS fire trucks were initially rebranded and shipped to Kiribati, complete with firefighting equipment, to provide the mainland with a firefighting fleet.
Firefighting training was then delivered, with 50 Kiribati government personnel becoming trained firefighters.
The CFS is currently refurbishing another four fire trucks to complement and expand the Kiribati fleet, with hopes to deliver the trucks before the end of 2021.
Pacific Island Liaison Officer CFS Deputy Commander Matt Davis said the challenges of working with the remote community provided many rewards.
"We are currently working towards transporting the four trucks, equipment and PPC," Mr Davis said.
"We've had amazing support from our volunteers, the SA Metropolitan Fire Service, and the mining sector of WA.
"At the moment we are working on organising shipping that equipment to the remote community.
"Unfortunately COVID-19 has affected the amount of sea freight available to the pacific island and increased the cost," Mr Davis said.
"Since we began our partnership with the Kiribati Government we have seen great progress in improving public safety on the islands, with the first round of fire trucks delivered on the island only days before they were used to extinguish a building fire.
"With the upcoming delivery of this round of trucks and equipment, we will provide a great boost to the capability of their fire and rescue services to include the ability to respond to road crash rescues and utilise breathing apparatus.
"As part of this delivery, two trucks and equipment will also be delivered to Kiritimati Island, the second most populated atoll in the Republic of Kiribati, where currently there is no fire or rescue capability."
South Australian fire services have been supportive of Pacific Island nations developing their emergency services, with the SA Metropolitan Fire Service partnering Tonga Fire and Emergency Services since 2004.
The CFS and Kiribati emergency services program is funded by the Australian Federal Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trading.