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Commissioner of Police Michael Charles address fire fighters at the beginning of the training programme. (IWN photo)
Commissioner of Police Michael Charles address fire fighters at the beginning of the training programme. (IWN photo)

Firefighters to be attached to the Argyle International Airport on Wednesday began specialised training to deal with eventualities that might arise at the facility.

Speaking at the opening of the two-week training course at the Old Montrose Police Station, Commissioner of Police, Michael Charles told the trainees that the

fire fighting training course will take the nation closer to the opening of the airport.

“Because this course is geared towards equipping officers with the requisite training to operate at that facility — the Argyle International Airport,” he said.

The police chief urged the participants to play “real attention” to the training.

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“I trust that what you would learn will take us better and move us forward as we develop our small country, St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

The EC$729 million airport has missed completion deadlines annually since 2011 and is on course to miss the Easter 2016 target that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves announced during the election campaign last December.

But Jennifer Richardson, communication officer at the International Airport Development Company (IADC), said that the airport will be completed soon.

The training is being facilitated by Walter Cook of Cincinnati, Ohio. (IWN photo)
The training is being facilitated by Walter Cook of Cincinnati, Ohio. (IWN photo)

She noted that on Nov. 3, 2013 three fire trucks arrived in the country for the airport, which was not yet ready to house them.

“We are here today because the time is fast approaching when those trucks would be needed at Argyle and persons who would operate and care for them must be properly trained to carry out their duties as firefighters,” she said.

She told the ceremony that she was happy to see the start of the specialised training geared towards airport fire fighting.

“Hence, those who would be attached to the Argyle international airport are here today, and it tells me we are that much closer to the start of operations at Argyle. And so, this part of the operations, which is a vital part, is being put in place.”

Walter Cook, a fire fighter trainer from Cincinnati, Ohio, is the course facilitator.

Cook told iWitness News that the training will focus on 16 initiatives, including accountability, leadership, safety of fellow fire fighters, providing the service that the public expects to see when they call the fire service, personal protective equipment, how to put up ladders properly, hose deployment, and first aid.

4 replies on “Argyle Airport fire fighters begin training”

  1. They should have been sent to a proper training school with all the equipment and facilities to train with, where they will be certified as airport fire fighting experts.



    Both these facilities have the same vehicles as we have for training and as part of the courses have set fires in the bodies of parked derelict aircraft for the trainees to bring under control. Bringing a trainer from abroad may be very cheap but it is not the right way to train staff dealing with 10 400 seat aircraft a day.

    Unfortunately the Kingstown fire brigade have never been able to put out a fire, they are badly trained and the equipment is faulty. They are renown for turning up at fires with no water in the tanks.

    We should to be worried, there are no rescue boat facilities for Argyle airport, there are no helicopter rescue facilities, in fact there is not a single helicopter located anywhere on Saint Vincent government or private.

    The casualty hospital is sometimes an hour away by road and they find it impossible to deal with a handful of casualties in a day, they do not have any dressings or drugs, and there is no burns unit anywhere in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

    So trying to train fire fighters on a theory only basis becomes a serious danger to the travelling public.

    But I suppose the government is skint, broke, skinned, so what else can we expect?

    1. Patrick Ferrari says:

      Peter, I am afraid the Gatwick course is out. I didn’t look at the other. The next Gatwick course starts is November and goes for 6 weeks.

      The airport opens at the end of this month.

  2. C. ben-David says:


    Before receiving specialized airport firefighting training and experience, you have to be a firefighter, i.e., have trained extensively for months or longer as a basic firefighter, training none of these people have ever had. Nor have they received basic firefighting certificates after completing a rigorous training programme (;

    Why is this training being done now when the airport is at least a year or two away from being operational (not to be confused with actually sending and receiving planeloads of international passengers)?

    The only information I have on a firefighter named “Walter Cook” is that he is (or was) a Captain in the Glendale, Ohio fire department, a tiny force whose members received $US 20.00 per fire call in 2007 (

    Just more smokescreen (excuse the pun) to cloud the eyes of our gullible masses.

    When are we going to finally wake up to the truth about Argyle airport?

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