Roatan’s Beauty, Truth & Wisdom

Roatan fire fighters practice high point ladder rescue from a multi store building.

Roatan Bomberos Improve their Skills

Adozen Roatan firefighters rappelled from unfinished condominiums at Parrot Tree Plantation. The three story building right next to the sea was a perfect place to hone rescue skills under the watchful eyes of their Canadian firefighting brethren. February 15 was the third day of training for the Roatan firefighters.

Brent Fulmek and Phillip Tufford from Grande Praire Fire Deparment were teaching the Roatanians high point ladder rescue techniques. “Even when we train them we learn from them. They are very skilled,” said Kris Robins, a Roatan resident who coordinated the training, about the Roatan firefighters. Eight years ago Robins and Joe Petterkind began bringing in firefighters from the Grande Praire, Alberta fire department to teach Roatan firefighters.

This cooperation saved many lives on the island. “We’ve learned to extract people from vehicles,” said sergeant Edil Lanza, a 12-year veteran of the Roatan firefighters. Roatan firefighters saved more lives by properly and safely extracting people from crushed vehicles than in any other way. “We often use one ‘jaws of life,’ and it’s in great shape,” said Lanza.

Roatan offers plenty of other challenges to firefighters. According to Lanza some of the more complicated fires of the last two years were at the dump. “It took us a week to get the first out, and there were four more after that,” said Lanza.

Roatan Municipality has 22 firefighters with 19 on Municipal salaries and the other three paid by the central government. There is an additional station and nine more firefighters in Santo Guardiola.

Roatan firefighters will soon have an additional valuable piece of equipment. According to Tufford a pump truck will soon be on its way from Alberta to Roatan, paid for Grande Praire Roatary Club. “The truck has been refurbished and is in great shape,” said Tufford.

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