Virgin Islands firefighters are receiving this week a 16-hour course on propane emergency response covering everything from emergency pre-planning to handling propane leaks to rescue procedures.
The training for the 60 firefighters, “Emergency Response to Propane Emergencies,” is sponsored by IPOS/Vitol Virgin Islands Corp in conjunction with the V.I. Fire Service and the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency. Experts from Texas A & M University Extension Service–National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center are conducting the course, which is being held on St. Croix for both the St. Croix and St. Thomas-St. John districts.
“The training is comprehensive and critical for our firefighters and emergency planners. How we respond to a propane emergency is different from how we handle a structural fire and it requires specialized skills,” said Antonio Stevens, V.I. Fire Service deputy chief of training. “Approximately 60 firefighters will receive training on propane emergency response, which includes but is not limited to, pre-emergency planning, propane vapor specific fire behavior, rescue procedures, gas dispersion, handling of propane leaks, propane truck rollover incidents and transport fires.”
Stevens said, “Personnel from WAPA and IPOS/VITOL Virgin Islands Corp are participating in the training,” which consists of classroom instruction followed by a field exercise utilizing a portable, exterior live-fire training system and props.
“The live-fire training system allows for the simulation of an actual fire in a controlled environment for training purposes,” said Merlin Figueira, general manager of the IPOS/VITOL LPG terminal facility. “It was purchased by IPOS/VITOL Virgin Islands Corp and will be donated to the V.I. Fire Service for future training initiatives at the conclusion of the course,” he said.
Funding for the ongoing training course was made available through a grant from VITEMA. VITEMA Director Mona Barnes said, “It is VITEMA’s mission to support and assist our first responders with all needed training. We are committed to continue our coordination and collaboration with all government and nongovernment agencies.”