Annual fire chiefs’ conference shortened

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The annual Western Pacific Islands Association Fire Chief conference was shortened to just a day this year as a direct result of Super Typhoon Yutu.

The Western Pacific Islands Association Fire Chief conference usually lasts longer but, because of the lack of accommodation, this year’s conference at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan was shortened and lasted only a day this year, said Clyde Norita, CNMI Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services commissioner.

“Usually this conference lasts two to three days…but because of the time and lack of resources, like hotels and rooms…we limited the conference to just one day and we are just addressing the most critical information—technology in fire services,” said Norita yesterday.

This year’s theme was Technology in Fire Services and how to use technology to leverage fire safety, health, and the welfare of firefighters across the Pacific.

“Fighting fire is the same over 200 years…but because of technology…we are able to fight fire smarter,” he said.

One of the most critical pieces of technology discussed during the conference on Wednesday was the technologically innovative oxygen tanks, self-contained breathing apparatus, or SCBA, and firefighter coats.

“For example, our SCBA…SCBAs are lighter now. The tank used to be metal and stainless steel but now it’s a composite that makes it much lighter. Firefighter’s coats and boots alone are heavy, plus the tank and their SCBA and working in stressful conditions…you want to make sure that the technology is there to help make the suit lighter, make the tank lighter, make the SCBA lighter. …These SCBAs are changing the way we fight fire and helps firefighters carry more equipment needed to fight fire,” Norita said.

According to him, it’s important for every fire chief that their firefighters are equipped with the most advanced equipment “and training because firefighters will go out and fight those fires…and as management we are here to provide the needed equipment and training…”

Present at Wednesday’s conference were fire chiefs from Guam, Yap, Pohnpei, Palau, CNMI, and more.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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