As part of plans to expand and upgrade the Melville Hall Airport to facilitate night landing, a brand new fire station is currently under construction at the airport to meet international safety standards. The works are expected to be completed in April 2012.
The new state of the art fire station replaces the 20 plus year old fire station that has recently been demolished to facilitate construction of the new building. The new EC$4.4 million fire station will be the most advanced on the island, equipped with a ten thousand gallon water tank, forensic laboratory, conference room, library, gym, living quarters for both male and female fire officers plus two bays for the airport’s fire appliances. The two-floor building will also have a watch tower for fire officers to stay in constant contact with airport officials and emergency personnel as well as a fireman’s pole to allow for quick response to emergency situations.
Following the tenth site meeting of the Melville Hall Airport project, Chief Fire Officer, Josiah Dupuis says this new fire station is expected to be one of the best in the region.
“One of the difficulties that fire departments [in general] face, is a deficiency in training infrastructure, those are critical things…clearly we are getting what will be our best facility on the island, and I have a very strong feeling it will rival some of the other fire stations in the region.”
The Fire Chief says this is a significant development for the Dominica Fire and Ambulance Service, as it takes into consideration the need for safety as well as comfort for the airport’s dedicated fire officers.
“There are new elements in this building that we have not had here in Dominica. When people work and spend a lot of hours on end away from their home, it’s important that you give them a facility that will give them a certain level of comfort that will foster the sort of development that you want, so it means a whole lot to us.” According to Mr Dupuis, a unique feature of this new Melville Hall Airport fire station is the accommodations that are made for both Aviation and Domestic fire fighters.
“The building is meant to serve as a dual fire station. We anticipate that we will be housing Aviation Fire Fighters as well as Domestic Fire Fighters. That is a critical aspect of this particular design. And therefore we should be able to house in excess of forty fire officers at the station, when you take into consideration the shift arrangement for the dual concept.”
The location of the new Melville Hall fire station has been carefully selected to ensure it provides the fire service with the best possible response times to incidents at the airport. In the meantime, fire fighters have been temporarily relocated to new quarters at the northern end of the airport.