The Coral Coast Chapter of the Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association has contributed yet again to the local community with a donation of Fiji’s first rapid response rescue and fire tender to the National Fire Authority of Fiji (NFS).
The keys were handed over to the NFS on Thursday, 26th June 2008 following an address by the Chairman of the Coral Coast Chapter, Mr Robert Wade.
The resorts – Hideaway Resort, Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji, The Warwick, The Naviti Resort & Spa and Shangri La’s Fijian Resort and Spa – have now collectively raised in excess of one million dollars worth of community projects, with many improvements and facilities at the Sigatoka hospital.
The funds were raised primarily from donations by tourists staying at the resorts and hotels towards the special Health and Safety Fund.
The Warwick Fiji Resort and Spa, the Outrigger on the Lagoon Hotel, Naviti Resort and the Fijian Resort have been involved in the development of emergency services in Sigatoka.
Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association president Robert Wade said visitors at the resorts contribute money for the health and safety fund.
“The fund works by visitors donating money to a central pool administered by the resorts who are all members of the Coral Coast Chapter of the FIHTA and the granting of import and exercise duty exemption by the Minister of Finance,” said Mr Wade.
He said money collected through the fund has been used to fund a large number of projects like the renovation and extension of an existing house on the grounds of Sigatoka hospital which was used to accommodate medical staff.
“They have also helped out in other projects like providing transport to the community nurse to ensure delivery of inoculations and carrying out of health checks for school children in the upper reaches of the Sigatoka valley,” he continued on.
FIHTA has also financially assisted the filariasis campaign and the dengue mosquito control programme.
Now their latest project was purchasing Fiji’s first rapid response rescue fire tender vehicle.
Mr Wade said a request was made by the NFA sometime ago in obtaining such vehicle.
“This vehicle is a first for Fiji in that not only can it rapidly respond to request for fire assistance but is also carries with it items such as the jaws of life that can be used to extricate people from motor vehicle accidents,” said Mr Wade.
Manufactured in Australia the $50,000 vehicle carries 400 litres of water and utilises a high pressure pump.
It has two side lockers and is fitted with fire equipment together with road accident rescue equipment.
“Hopefully with this donation, we can assist the NFA in its endeavor to bring about rapid extraction of people from road accidents in that most important golden hour,” said Mr Wade.
He stressed FIHTA strongly believes that by providing people with the proper facilities they are able to carry out their duties to the best of their abilities.
“Works has also commenced on a new accident and emergency facility at the Sigatoka Hospital that will give to the community of Nadroga /Navosa a world class emergency department. In conjunction with the NFA’s effort will go some way to reducing the impact of road accidents,” said Mr Wade.
FITHA had also assisted with building a repeater station on Vatulele to enable police communication throughout the Coral Coast and also with the building of the new police post at Cuvu which was recently handed over to the Fiji Police Force.
Mr Wade said they have also assisted police with two new vehicles which are for the Tourist Police Unit and Sigatoka Police.
The new fire station in Sigatoka was officially in November, last year and the handing over of the new vehicle was another milestone for the National Fire Authority as they progress towards their strategic roadmap for fire safety and mitigation in Fiji. NFA chief executive officer Joseva Gavidi said tourist resort along the Coral Coast has a long history for supporting its community especially in emergency services.
He said the Coral Coast chapter of FIHTA has been actively involved in supporting emergency services in Sigatoka and NFA was honoured to have benefited from their assistance.
“NFA is always grateful for such generous partnerships as this gift highlights the deep concern that everyone has for the safety of our various communities from the devastating effects of fires and other emergencies,” said Mr Gavidi.
The NFA CEO said the multiple roles of the new vehicle include rapid response to structural fires in the Sigatoka fire district and its size is useful allowing access to narrower roads and squatter settlements.
Mr Gavidi said they would use the vehicle as road accident rescue response on the Queen’s Road between Pacific Harbour and the Natadola turn off.
He said they would also use the vehicle as transport for community education programmes and safety visits around the Sigatoka district.