Firefighter’s Caribbean kit donation
FIRE crews on the Caribbean island of Grenada are better equipped this Christmas thanks to a donation spearheaded by a firefighter and a police officer from Merseyside.
Crosby-based firefighter Kimberley Antoine’s visit to the island, where she has family, inspired the donation of old and unused Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) fire kit – and she teamed up with PC Dan Holdsworth, of Merseyside Police, to organise the shipment.
When she went to Grenada in 2017, 34-year-old Kim, who lives in Formby, found that much of the fire service’s equipment was unfit for purpose.
She said: “My dad is from Grenada and he emigrated to the UK in the 1970s.
“He is one of 10 siblings and some of my aunties, uncles and cousins still live over there.
“I am fortunate enough to be able to visit them every few years.
“In 2017, I visited their fire station and saw that the quality of their PPE (personal protective equipment) was very poor; some was not fit for purpose.
“Upon return to the UK, I made enquiries to establish if it was possible to donate some of our used, old or unserviceable kit.”
Grenada is a country susceptible to hurricanes and tropical storms; in 2004, Hurricane Ivan hit the island, causing devastation which affected most of the population.
The island’s fire service was faced with the task of performing rescues and building the island back to a habitable state.
Kim said: “Ensuring that firefighters have the correct PPE is integral to the job. It plays a central role in protecting them and reducing risk of injury when undertaking potentially dangerous tasks.
“It fills me with great pride that MFRS have been kind enough to donate the kit. The fact that the donation has been made to a country which my family is from, makes this all the more personal.
“I feel a level of satisfaction and fulfilment knowing that the kit is being made use of in a country which has much less than us, yet do the same job as us.”
Kim heard about PC Holdsworth – who had already been shipping goods across the world, supported by charity Tri 4 life – and asked for his help with the Grenada project.
The two were part of a team recognised with a visit by HRH Princess Anne in honour of their foreign aid work.
Right, firefighter Kimberley Antoine who has supplied fire kit to Grenada; above, she and PC Dan Holdsworth being met, and commended, by HRH Princess Anne