Firefighters honoured, host activities to mark their day |05 May 2022
Firefighters in the country have been honoured for their devotion and commitment to save lives and several activities were organised at the Seychelles International Airport and Victoria to mark their day yesterday.
Also at noon yesterday, firefighters on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue observed a minute’s silence followed by the sounding of fire sirens for firefighters who have passed away. The sound of the siren echoed around Victoria forcing people to pause from their activities.
International Firefighters Day is celebrated every May 4 and the Seychelles Airport Fire and Rescues Services (SAFRS) in collaboration with the Seychelles Fire and Rescue Services Agency (SFRSA) yesterday hosted a ceremony to honour and celebrate firefighters in the country.
The ceremony which was held at the SAFRS premises at the Seychelles International Airport was also an opportunity for firefighters from both services to socially interact and meet with representatives from other affiliated organisation’s after two years that the Covid-19 pandemic had put a stop to these celebrations.
The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of certificates to a group of firefighters from the SAFRS who have followed training ranging from two days to three months in fireman ship, basic firefighting, breathing apparatus and watch room attendants.
Nylah Japha who was previously working as a telephone operator at the ex-Siba call centre, said she wanted to experience a new work environment and this is the reason why she chose to join the SAFRS as a watch room attendant. She added that the work is very promising and she is advising other young people to choose a career with the SFRSA as she herself sees a lot of opportunities ahead.
Gerve Esparon who has been working for a year with the SAFRS and has conducted all three courses, also said that the fire services offer him many opportunities and the courses that he recently followed will better improve his performance in his duties.
Before the certificate presentation, there was a flag raising ceremony by representatives of the two fire services and a blessing by father Colin Underwood from the St Joseph parish of Anse Royale. Father Underwood called on the Lord for his blessing onto those servants who so generously devote themselves to help others. He thanked the firefighters for risking their lives to save the lives of others.
Present to celebrate with the firefighters were Minister of Internal Affairs Roy Fonseka, principal secretary for civil aviation, ports and marine Alan Renaud, chief executive of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) Gary Albert, the SFRSA chief fire officer Albert Rose, chief fire officer of SAFRS, Bernard Henriette, senior and junior firefighters and representatives from the SCAA and the Red Cross Society of Seychelles (RCSS).
Addressing the firefighters and other guests, Minister Fonseka said it is no secret that the fire services in the country have a very good reputation and are well respected. He noted that the reason for the good reputation and respect lies in the fact that the services, apart from understanding the risks, are very clear about their purpose which is to save lives on the ground and at sea.
Minister Fonseka thanked the firefighters for their commitment and dedication and he also encouraged them to continue to train hard to increase their performance so that they continue to provide good and professional services. He also thanked everyone working at the airport, including the SAFRS’ firefighters, for keeping the country’s indispensable access to the world safe and secure.
He remarked that he was happy to note that many young women are becoming firefighters. He further went to encourage more young men and young women to join the fire services.
Earlier in his opening remark, chief fire officer Henriette said although the pandemic had affected their training programmes and human resource capacity, the SAFRS was happy to have been able to provide the airport a high standard of service with the limited human resource available.
He added that the SAFRS will again be sending officers on overseas specialised training to respond to the needs of the airport. He also welcomed on board 10 women who have joined the airport fire service in such a large group for the first time, as watch room attendants.
Mr Henriette called on his subordinates to continue to provide a good and exemplary service.
For his part, Mr Albert thanked the firefighters for their services to the airport. He added that the SCAA will continue to provide them with support and assistance in terms of new equipment and capacity building so that they discharge their duties to the highest possible standard.