This was sent to me the conditions in which the fire fighters are living in in nevis, but with elections around the corner I'm wondering if anything will be done quickly........ LEPTOSPIROSIS is ZOONOTIC disease that is spread by rats through its urine and can be fatal in humans, it can cause bleeding from the lungs or meningitis, it can cause kidney failure causing one to turn yellow (jaundice) Khyle Marshall ask the Minister that you campaigning for to take a look into this unhealthy situation.
Nevis Airport Fire Station:
Kitchen... Let me start with the kitchen for starters. The kitchen is rat infested which might be due to the fact that ALL the garbage from the airport is stored about 20-25 ft away from the main building. At times you can smell the rat. You have to keep your food stuff and utensils locked away. The kitchen is kept clean during the day after any individual is finish using it and a thorough cleaning at mornings. But the rat problem still persists. Health department came in earlier this year and agreed that we have a problem for real based on some markings on the side of the walls close to the floor. The kitchen has NO WINDOWS. NO WINDOWS!! Just a door to get in and out. And this door is not even located in an area where the wind blows. I'd like to repeat that the kitchen is kept clean daily and a thorough cleaning at mornings so the rat problem in my opinion is not due to an unkept kitchen. We don't have a place to eat at the station.. The kitchen is just for cooking and too small for eating so we have to either eat in the alert room, the barrack room or outside in the walkway.
The F.O's Barrack... The F.O's barrack is about 15x15 ft. This room house 5 officers from each shift daily and 10 officers in times when we are reserved for national duties or any extra duties that may come up for fire Dept. This barrack has 3 bunk beds 2 of which the officers who occupies them complain about how small they are and they are so low that you can't even sit on the bottom bunk without bumping your head. These are bunks for kids. I can kind of understand why they use those size because there's not anymore room for anything bigger. And there's another 2 normal or non-bunk beds.. 8 beds in all EIGHT.!!! EIGHT!!! A few Officers have to share beds. And in times when all ranks are reserved the officers that live Nevis have to go home to sleep and be back early the next morning before airport is open so that there will be enough space for everyone else to sleep.. This is not even the worst part. The worst part is that this barrack that is supposed to host 5 MEN daily and in some cases 10 MEN, only have one bathroom.. ONE BATHROOM.. ONE BATHROOM. With shower, sink and toilet. And only one person can use the bathroom at a time.
My biggest gripe with this is that we're asked to work 48hour shifts and I would expect a place that don't make the 48hour experience as bad as it is. I know of houses with it's master bedroom bigger than the barrack we're asked to stay in, multiple bathrooms, a big kitchen with WINDOWS. We are not asking for a mansion, but if this is where we're gonna be living one expect better living conditions that is as close as possible to a experience you would get when you're at home.. I don't know of any fire officer whose home living conditions are as bad as these, so why do we have to subject ourselves to this?
The alert room/guardroom. The alert room is basically divided into 3 rooms. The alert room, laundry room, and our gym. This is an open area where the guard is stationed to note aircrafts in and out and take information from tower in the event of emergency. Here you're exposed to the exhaust from aircrafts engine and exhaust from the garage which I will get to in a few. There's Asbestos in the roof still after all these years of people knowing how toxic and cancerous Asbestos is. This same room is laced with mosquitos which is a result of the poor drainage system at the station. Oh yea this room is also for meetings and any kind of gatherings that we may have
The garage. The garage is about 5-6ft away from the barracks and about 10ft away from the alert room and once the trucks start you have to drop what you're doing and come outside whether you're in barracks or alert room you have to come outside or just decide to inhale all that stuff. This may not so be bad for a normal person but for firemen this is not good to be inhaling the exhaust from the trucks and aircrafts because as firemen we already inhale more toxic smoke than the normal man do and everybody knows smoke is not good for your health.
The supervisor Barrack. There's not much to be said about the supervisor's barrack because it's only occupied by 1 person at a time who is the supervisor for one shift and the head of the station.
Molds.. The entire station have a mold problem. This mold problem is due to leakage in the station. The station is a two-story building. The upstairs was condemned years upon years ago because of a leaking problem which resulted in molds. The mold problem has reach downstairs for years now. I guess because this is not Basseterre High School so it is not being taken as serious as it should be taken. The situation is so bad that multiple officers get skin outbreaks, skin irritations, some had to end up seeing their doctor because of respiratory problems and in many cases officers had to be transferred from there because of this problem. The now-head of the station was one of those who had to be transferred years ago when Hester Rawlings was still chief, but he's back there in a different capacity and is dedicated not to move from that station until these issues are ironed out. He still complains about the same issues he was having years ago from the molds and stuff but is sticking it out to try get this problem rectified.. He and the now-chief has written multiple reports about the condition of the station for years and still nothing is being done.
Let me go a bit deeper into this leaking and mold issue. The leaking is so bad that during the 2 storms a few months ago even though all ranks were reserved we could not stay in the station. We had to stay at the Charlestown Fire Station for the storm. The station leaked so bad that it got under the tiles in the supervisors barrack that they had to take the tiles up off the floor. The water got into the lockers, wet the beds, some books and documents were even destroyed because of this. The said leakage and the moisture in the walls are what caused the mold problem in my opinion.. The leaking from the last storms resulted in us having to go to Charlestown Fire station at night after airport closed to sleep then had to be back early in the morning. And this was because the scent of the molds were unbearable, the popcorn in the roof got loosen because of the moisture and it fall from the roof everyday. Very often we wake up with the popcorn on our beds, on the floor and stuff like that. The popcorn is so loosen from this moisture that when we do our thorough cleaning of the barracks weekly and try sweeping down the roof from web etc the popcorn will come falling down. And we have to inhale this day and night. You think that's all?
If you close the barracks Windows and doors for 5 mins you'll smell the molds and stuff like that. In fact, at nights when it rains during sleeping hours and we have to close the windows it's even worst because of the said molds. Sometimes you don't really realize the scent if you're inside so what you have to do is go outside in fresh air when the windows and doors are closed then go back inside and you will realize how bad it is. The entire building was supposed to be condemned by health department because of these issues by the but because of the outcome of the station being condemned, the reports from fire department and health department are being suppressed so that the entire airport don't end up closing down until it's rectified.
It gets really hot at the station at times so we were considering AC but because of the moisture in the wall and the mold issue we had to scrap the AC and opt in to boiling instead.
Many times the men considered striking but the only thing would happen is that we will either be putting our jobs in jeopardy or just end up getting transferred.. But because this is not just a stand for the men that work at the Vance Amory Fire station alone, but rather a stance for the Fire Department on a whole (because at any point in time anyone who is a member of the SKNFRS can be transferred to this station) we have to take this rout of exposing what's going on because the government and high ranking officials knows about it for years and plays blind to this serious matter. The last time they visited the station they had a walk through of the building and they were told of the issues. This was about last year I think. Police and defense force don't have to go through these nonsense and we're by far tired of it. We're not be taken seriously for some reason (some say it is because we don't generate much money as police Dept) . We may not generate much money in the fire dept, but we sure as hell save the government money with our expertise and the funny this is that, many proposals were made to the government in ways in which fire dept can generate more money but because we're not being taken serious no step we ever made to put these things in place. cocktail party garment suitable for ladies
Can you imagine that quite a few fire stations in the federation don't have Internet that is paid by government? The Internet is being paid by our Sports Club funds. And the funny thing is that, government work is being done using said internet. I'm not sure of the protocol on wether its government responsibility or fire dept, but I know for damn sure it is not the responsibility of the Sports Club because that is firemen money that is taken from our salary monthly and is invested to grow the funds.
These are some more issues that affecting the Nevis division.
We don't have proper vehicle for transferring men to and from any venue when we have national duties. All we have is a pick-up. For example, we had independence church service in Nevis months ago and the men who attended had to be transferred in and on the back of the pick-up where there's not even good support to hold on, and if I'm not mistaking, it is illegal to ride on pick-ups like that. Wa we be DAWG? HAAGG? or CACKLE?
Imagine we're being asked to work these hours (96 or 72 hours a week) we get no overtime, or even an incentive for the long hours. Prime minister mentioned last year that Police and Nurses would get overtime. Wa happm' to fire? We a wuk fu tanks?
The boat fee for people living in St. Kitts and have to travel to Nevis is $80... EIGHTY DOLLARS A MONTH. We travel to and from Nevis on average about 12-15 times a month so do the maths. And this was just introduced to us a couple months ago that we now have to pay the dollar tax out of that same $80. So do the maths. We nah cum Newis fu lime or look oman. We a cum wuk so y e cyan e use to be? The displace allowance could be better but, it's not too bad so I'm really gonna complain about that because I'm not expecting perfection or 100% satisfactory in any situation.
Would you believe that even after working a 48 hour shift at times we're still expected to give more time in exchange for nothing in most occasions? Like when we have someone from outside fire dept that want to come and lecture to us (which is not a bad thing), station and general meetings, drills, national duties or someone from government office which is very rare. All these are what are expected from us for no form of compensation in return.
Why are we expected to live in these conditions in 2017. TWO THOUSAND AND SEVENTEEN. Not 1970s TWO THOUSAND AND SEVENTEEN. Why is so much required of us but getting so little in return. The job is a good enough paying job, but if you were to calculate the hours we put in to the money we get paid it would result in a figure far less than minimum wage. And nothing is being done about this criminal act and it's not even being addressed. We worst off than the Spanish people certain folks hire because they know they can underpay them.
It's too much to bear now. I could've been more quiet and understanding if certain things were being addressed or some sort of effort was being made but it's overbearing now. I'm not asking for a perfect situation I'm just asking for a better one because I know far better can be done.
I think the reason that this is situation (Condition of the station) is not being attended to the way it is supposed to is because we're a small small small department of about maybe 80-100 officers and politically that can't really hurt the government that is in power so it is being treated like a non issue, unlike the Basseterre High School situation, who was not ask to spend 48hours in these conditions. Every time there's new flights that is gonna be coming to Nevis Mr Brantley beat his chest and brag about it. Well he don't want to know if the firemen who HAVE to be present at the airport in order for ANY flight to land or take off comfortable are comfortable? I'm now hearing they have 1 Million dollars allocated to extend the runway and another 1 million for control tower. WA HAPPM' TO FIRE STATION??? WA WE HAVE TO DO STRIKE IN ORDER FOR THEM TO SEE THE IMPORTANCE OF US? Firemen are far from stupid and know we deserve better. But I'll tell you how this problem will be dealt with. 1. Transfer and 2. Let time pass until it blows over
Lastly, I'd like to point out that these problems existed under the former government for a long long long time. So I am in no way trying to make this political even though the word was mention 1or2 times. But it is just sickening to know that this is being treated like a non issue when similar situation were treated with urgency. BHS, A Police station in Castle, and other government buildings that were evacuated because of the same issues with moisture in the building or mold problems. Firemen need their fair share too.. It's our share and we want it now. And I'd like to also like to point out that we got paid for being reserved for the time during the storm.. Which was the first time in fire dept history.
I would like to think I'm being reasonable, because when you take everything I said into consideration plus the fact that our entire life as fire officers we are asked to give half or more of our time to the job, but we can never be properly compensated and no attempt is being made to even iron out some of these issues. I honestly don't think it is that hard to at least make an effort.