Barbados’ Chief Fire Officer (CFO) believes his fire fighters can offer greater assistance to this island’s medical services in life-saving emergencies.
“We are perfectly positioned to be used in what has evolved to become the mainstay of many fire departments, that is, the provision of pre-hospitable medical care. We are strategically placed around the island and we are easily accessible to the people in need,” says CFO Errol Maynard.
“The changing environment requires a multi-skilled and versatile officer. The modern fire officer is expected to be in the forefront of most emergencies and disasters, except those that require a weapon to resolve them,” he said.
Speaking over the weekend at an award ceremony for fire officers and their affiliates held at the Savannah Beach Hotel, Maynard noted the BFS is not seeking to replace the Emergency Medical Services, but rather to augment what they are already doing. “The fire Service can no longer appear to be a bystander in the provision of pre-hospital care,” he suggested.
Maynard said that in pursuit of this expanded role the BFS will be looking into acquiring vehicles and other related medical emergency equipment.
“No longer can this country afford to have a fire and rescue service that does not attend to some level of medical emergencies,” he said. In his vision, an expanded role for the BFS could also extend to rescue operations on the water working with the other agencies already providing this service.
In his address the CFO also referred to a higher than normal number of house and store fires and called on insurance companies and ‘other stakeholders’ to provide incentives for coverage of buildings against disasters.
“There is too much loss of life and property on a daily basis” he said on Saturday during the third annual award ceremony. Though he did not specify the other stakeholders the CFO added that property owners must also be persuaded to obey fire safety regulations.
“Likewise, there is a need to provide incentives to encourage businesses to become compliant with the codes and regulations and have their staff adequately trained.
“The losses for not doing so are much greater than the perceived savings.”