SPC Geoscience Division


Samoa to strengthen emergency management capability with qualified fire investigators

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Strengthen emergency Management capability

23 Feb 2018 | Suva

Following an audit of the Samoa Fire & Emergency Services Authority this week, the Island nation will take steps to increase its emergency management capability with the introduction of qualified fire investigators. The representative selected to become Samoa’s first detailed investigator will travel to Melbourne in April 2018 to train with the highly skilled Melbourne Fire Brigade’s (MFB) Fire Investigation & Analysis (FIA) team. The investigator will return to Samoa by June 2018 to support Samoa’s Fire and Emergency Services Authority (SFESA) efforts of increasing the investigation skills of colleagues in Samoa. Up to four Fire and Emergency Services personnel are expected to receive training, creating the first qualified fire investigation team in Samoa.

Samoa Fire and Emergency Services (F.E.S.A) Commissioner, Lelevaga Faafouina Mupo said “the country is focused on maintaining a strong emergency services culture which has again been tested after the impact of Tropical Cyclone Gita last week.  This audit and the work we are doing here continues our commitment to increasing our emergency services capabilities to ensure we are best equipped into the future.”

The audit was carried out by the MFB in partnership with the Pacific Community (SPC) and (SFESA) under the Pacific Islands Emergency Management Alliance (PIEMA), and assessed the country’s capacity to investigate the root cause of fires as well as using fire incident data to increase investigation skills in the country. In addition to qualified fire investigators, the audit also made recommendations on improving fire response, fire safety and community messaging.

“Supporting and strengthening emergency management in the Pacific is critical to ensure countries in the region are better prepared before disasters strike and when an emergency response is required.  This audit work will help bolster the Samoa Fire and Emergency Services Authority and the Pacific Community is privileged to play a key role in helping our partners increase emergency services capacity across the Pacific,” said Dr Andrew Jones, Pacific Community’s Director of the Geoscience, Energy and Maritime Division (GEM).

Melbourne Fire Brigade’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Barry Gray, said the completion of this week’s audit will support the long-term capacity of the country to carry out fire investigation and support the implementation of the recently endorsed Fire Reduction Strategy.

“This week’s training has provided FESA with the skills required to better train their operational fire fighters in scene perseveration working towards supporting the elements of the National fire Reduction Strategy and ultimately better community outcomes.  This will now be supported by the training of one of the FESA team in the coming months with our team,” he said.

The partnership is possible through the Pacific Community’s Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific Project funded by the European Union and ACP Group of States and implemented in Samoa by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment through its Disaster Management Office. The project will cover the transport and travel costs of the MFB investigators.  The MFB technical team’s training and time is provided in-kind as part of the ongoing partnership between Samoa Government, and the Pacific Islands Emergency Management Alliance.

Contact Details:

Anthony Blake, PIEMA Officer (SPC). This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it phone: +679 7751401

Molly Nielsen, Disaster Management Office (Principal DM Officer), This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it phone: +685 7784 143

Last Updated on Monday, 12 March 2018 12:40  


Thursday 27 November 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Suva, Fiji - The Pacific region continues to face development issues and technology of all kinds is assisting many areas of decision making, wealth generation and job creation. This was the focus of opening remarks delivered by Professor Michael Petterson, Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (AGTD) at the Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing (GIS & RS) conference.

The GIS & RS conference opened on Tuesday, 25th November at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji with the theme “Empowering Pacific Communities through Improved Geospatial Data”, and where approximately 280 participants were in attendance with representatives from countries and agencies from the Pacific and beyond.

‘Although we have some way to go because of limited capacity and resources, organisations like SPC have made a solid start in developing modern databases, applying new technologies, including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, multivariate satellite spectra and bathymetric instruments. These technologies allow for rapid coverage of land and lagoon, enabling experts to determine land use, forestry cover, areas of mineralisation, sites for geothermal energy and to assist with planning decisions,’ Petterson described.