Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has encouraged firefighters to use “common sense” in their line of duty.
His comments were made at the Promotion ceremony of 15 firefighters who took another step forward in their career with the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A.) last week.
The promotion recognised eight new leading firefighters, five qualified firefighters, one senior station officer, and one station officer.
Leading the ceremony with invocation was Reverend Nu’uausala Siaosi Siutaia and Masters of Ceremony was F.E.S.A. Commissioner Lelevaga Fa’afouina Mupo.
Tuilaepa told a story about a professor who gave remarks during graduation about the 10 golden rules.
“However there is the 11th rule, in protecting one’s life when fighting fires, when you encounter a predicament that was not included in the 10 rules I taught you, use the 11th rule I did not tell you, use your common sense,” he said.
“In a respectful manner you say, use your common sense but when shooting a straight point, use your brain.
“Your life is on the line when fighting fires, so when you are on duty, please utilize the 11th rule, all the time.
“The global problem we have with the climate change which has the attention of the world leaders and the sole source of these issues is from pollution created by man and as a result climate change.”
According to Tuilaepa, there is news about fires all over the world and so the firefighters, prior to leaving the house for work, they always say their goodbyes to their spouses.
“As you know nowadays, the more fire incidents, the more lives are lost to the fire and so you as a firefighter have to stay alert at all times.
“You should also be physically fit,” he said.
Tuilaepa says in 1972, during the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, an incident occurred and the Police Officers who responded were unable to climb poles because they were fat.
“Yet the terrorists were physically able to run all over.”
Tuilaepa challenged them to hit the gym and engage in physical activities.
“If you are not physically fit, then you will get burned in the fire.
“In Samoa when there is a fire, you get there when it is too late, there is literally nothing you can do, by the time you get to the scene.
“So we should be ready at all times, so you can get there and be able to salvage a residence that is on fire.
“I tell you that it is not pleasant the firefighters get there too late,” he said.
He reminded them about the explosion of the fuel tanks.
“Luckily for us, we had enough fume to eliminate the fire.
“It took about an hour while waiting for the fire trucks from the airport.”
He then urged F.E.S.A. of the need to expand the resources in case there was a fire in a six storey building.
He told the Commissioner to look at purchasing fire trucks similar to the fire trucks at the airport.
“We have to wait for the airplanes to leave then the truck can respond to the big fires in town and that is unacceptable.
“We should have a similar fire trucks stationed in Apia.”