Firemen from four volunteer fire departments on Abaco shared donated fire equipment on November 18, 2017. In a brief ceremony held on Man-O-War, Chief Councillor Jeremy Sweeting of the Hope Town District Council presented firemen’s protective clothing, boots and other items to the fire departments of three other districts.
Several years ago Mr. Sweeting established an informal relationship with the City Council of Stuart, Florida. During one of his visits with the Stuart Council members, two volunteer fire departments, the City of Stuart and the Martin County fire departments, offered surplus equipment to Mr. Sweeting for his district. After satisfying the needs of the Man-O-War, Hope Town and Guana Cay fire departments, enough was left to give a substantial amount of the bunker gear to the Marsh Harbour volunteer firemen. Fire terminology calls this protective clothing “bunker gear.”
Roy Russell, Man-O-War’s fire chief, had accompanied Mr. Sweeting to Stuart to select suitable items and was subsequently present for the Man-O-War ceremony. Troy Albury, fire chief in Guana Cay, Troy Pritchard and James Williams from Hope Town and Shame Evans and Lavern Johnson representing Marsh Harbour all accepted bunker gear and other equipment.
Well-funded fire departments in the United States often upgrade their equipment as technology improves the safety factor for the firemen. Our firemen are quite happy to use last year’s technology when fighting fires.
A final item donated was a heavy duty Jaws of Life rescue system accepted by Tim McDonald of the Marsh Harbour fire department in recognition of his past experience with the Marsh Harbor ambulance service and proven abilities in emergencies. That four-part system augments a smaller set acquired by Marsh Harbour several years ago that accompanied the purchase of a used fire engine.
Mr. Sweeting thanked The Treasury for granting duty exemption for the equipment and recognized Michael Bethel, captain of the Duke of Topsail, for facilitating the delivery to Abaco.