The selection process for senior firefighters is expected to change soon, Chief Fire Officer Errol Maynard has disclosed.
The fire chief said Thursday he was also relying on supervisory ranks to introduce creative “new models” for the nation’s fire and rescue service.
The Barbados Fire Service will begin talks with line ministries to review the qualifications for supervisory ranks, Maynard said.
“We recognized that there were some gaps – skill gaps, knowledge gaps and performance gaps,” Maynard said as a two-week course for 40 fire officers on supervisory management began at the University of the West Indies Open Campus in The Pine, St Michael.
“These gaps could not have been filled by wishing them away, by paying a blind eye to them or by elapsed time. Time does not heal everything, therefore action had to be taken,” he said.
Maynard urged the participants to be a force for changing the culture of the 199-strong fire service.
“I therefore encourage you not to fight the existing reality. Use your energy, skills and new-found motivation to create new models. New models that will change our way of thinking. New models that will change the way we operate. New models that will transform the Barbados Fire Service and the fire and rescue service within the region,” the chief fire officer said.
“Do not settle for what is there, but be creative. Create models that will make what we have obsolete instead of accepting what is there and saying that is the last and forever,” he added.
A 30-year veteran in the fire service, Maynard contended that growth of the organization was dependent on the invaluable contribution of all its members.
“For there to be true success we need positive relationships in which all the players are playing their part; a relationship in which there is effort from all parties, a relationship in which there is total commitment and involvement. It is then and only then that success will be secured,” he said.
In her feature address, Dr Pamela Dottin, the quality assurance officer at the UWI Open Campus, urged the officers to further enhance their skill set for personal and professional growth and for the development of the organization.
“Supervisors require other important skill sets such as interpersonal relationship, effective communication, conflict resolution and the ability to manage difficult conversations,” she said.
“Supervisory management provides opportunities for the development of many worthwhile skills which are important for middle and upper management in organizations, and certainly within our Barbados Fire Service.”
There are seven ranks in the Barbados Fire Service, beginning with Fire Officer and rising to Leading Fire Officer, Sub Officer, Station Officer and Divisional Officer, with a Deputy Chief Fire Officer and Chief Fire Officer at the helm.