CAPTION: Vineet steady on the hose. Photo: SUPPLIED.
Vineet Singh’s voice could be heard loud and clear over the roar of the fire hoses as he barked out commands for the fire teams to follow. With teams of two on each hose, Vineet, the smallest of the rather large Nadroga men, was in the middle calling the shots as the teams battled the simulation fire.
Vineet was one of 10 staff of the Outrigger on the Lagoon · Fiji who recently completed a 3 day intensive training on Emergency Responses. The training conducted by the National Fire Authority is to provide comprehensive understanding of fire and its associated dangers.
The fairly averaged sized Navatu, Ba native was however not deterred by his lack of height or physicality during the training, rather using it to his advantage.
“I told my friends who were part of the training that from class 1 to secondary school I used to be in the front of the assembly line all the time. At the beginning it was a bit demoralizing. But from my school days I learnt to overcome this height barrier. I always went in as an underdog and I used to put in that extra effort whenever I took part in anything. I believe that has always given me an added advantage. So now I don’t feel that my height is a disadvantage, especially after I was unanimously chosen as the chief of the response team. It gave me more confidence to know that my colleagues had the faith in me to lead the team,” he said with his schoolboy grin.
Vineet joined the Outrigger on the Lagoon · Fiji in 2006 as an electrician having completed a level 3 certificate in Electrical Engineering from the then Training and Productivity Authority of Fiji (TPAF). After joining the resort, Vineet was offered training with the Australian Butler School under the resorts premier Talai Butler service. Having excelled in that training he was given an opportunity to become a Duty Manager in the Front office operations.
The 26 year old father of a bubbly 2 and a half year old son said the training has taught him the importance of the initial responses to any emergency.
“The skills we learnt in terms of techniques taught to us by the officers from NFA (National Fire Authority) was really encouraging and brought out a lot of confidence in the members who were a part of the training. We saw a different side to fire fighting, how to work as a team. We understood the consequences of fires in such a location as ours, especially having an average of 500 guests as well as staff on the property on an average day and the responsibilities the team has to undertake and achieve to ensure that everyone is accounted for,” the newly appointed Fire Chief of the resort stated.
Vineet believes the training is a necessity for any resort or hotel and is very proud to have been chosen to become a fire warden at the Outrigger. He says as the Chief of the response team, he has the responsibility of ensuring that the emergency teams continue with their training to keep fit and do not lose their skills.
“I think the two years we have before the NFA officers come back to conduct a refresher course is very important in keeping the team on their toes and this goes hand in hand with the program that they have given us to carry out regularly to keep our teams updated with the techniques we’ve learnt. I think this will help us a lot with any emergency response we may counter at the resort,” he said.
The Emergency Response Training was conducted to train staff to identify various types of fires, the appropriate fire fighting tactic and the relevant type of equipment to use in each situation. Participants were also taught the practical operation and application of the types of firefighting equipment installed at the resort. This fire fighting team will be the First Attack Team at the resort.