The days of fire officers being promoted based strictly on years of service are coming to an end, according to Attorney General Adriel Braithwaite.
And the island’s top legal adviser warned at Friday afternoon’s reopening of the Arch Hall Fire Station and Barbados Fire Academy that seniority would not guarantee a rise through the ranks.
“The emphasis is on training of all fire officers. When I speak to young fire officers, they complain that there is reluctance on the part of the seniors to do the training but yet they want to be promoted. Now you would appreciate that somewhere down the line that there must be a relationship between your ability to execute the job and your ability to be promoted,” Brathwaite said.
The Attorney General explained that modern advancements within the service were moving at a rapid rate and the role of a firefighter must evolve to keep up with the changing demands.
However in order to take advantage of the innovations there must be a willingness by all officer to retool their skillset, Brathwaite stressed.
“We cant have a situation where our senior guys are here and saying they can’t respond to an event because ‘we don’t know how to use the equipment or we are not fit enough to execute certain duties’. So the training will be for all officers and expect it would be continuous and it would be counted in terms of analysis and it will not a question of seniority, it will be a question of your ability to execute your job. It is not about ‘I came first into the fire service and therefore I should be Fire Chief,’” he added.
Government in 2009 decided to extend the Arch Hall Fire Station to provide training facilities for recruits, as well as continuous in-service training of staff in the Fire Service Department. Work on the project commenced in 2014.