The Barbados Fire Academy presented 19 of 20 of their junior fire officers with their certificates in Fire Fighter I & II as well as Fire Science.
The courses which are offered through a partnership with the Barbados Community College (BCC) trains students with the skills necessary to be fire officers in any part of the world.
Featured speaker at the Presentation of Certificate Ceremony, Acting Principal of the Barbados Community College Cheryl Weekes said the training resulted in significant savings for the Barbados Fire Service as they no longer had to send their cohorts overseas to receive the intensive training.
Weekes also told the gathering it was a historical moment as the graduates were the first to be certified in the Fire Science programme which is offered at the Barbados Community College.
“This is the first time that we have certified persons in Fire Science. This activity seeks to provide training which is intended to improve the quality of service delivered while at the same time improve the professional status of the officers,” she said.
The acting principal said the members of Barbados Fire Service would have trained officers in EMT and paramedics.
“This kind of activity certainly speaks to the holistic approach to the delivery of emergency services where it is recognised that responding to a distress call is not only about a fire but most recently, we have seen an increase in road accidents which require a different approach. The approach to cross-training certainly fits in with what occurs in other countries in the region where the fire and ambulance services are combined. For this reason, BCC will seek to establish collaborations with the Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) to provide training not only for the service here in Barbados but for the entire Caribbean,” she said.
Weekes told the gathering the BCC will launch further opportunities in the future for the Barbados Fire Service in defined speciality areas and also offer the Associate Degree in Fire Science to ensure that the service has trained and competent officers locally and regionally.
“The collaboration with CAFC will also result in an inflow of foreign currency into the country and will certainly support the drive towards educational tourism,” she said.
Chief Fire Officer and Director of Training at the Barbados Fire Academy Errol Maynard said the modern industry is no longer looking for a fire officer who is all muscle.
“The fire and rescue service industry throughout the world is focusing on education and training and making them just as important as any other component of firefighting. This modern industry is no longer looking for the fire officer who is all muscle but rather they are looking for a critical thinker, a decision maker, a problem solver, and an innovator,” he said.
Maynard told the junior fire officers that they should not listen to naysayers as they are assets to the fire service.
“Unfortunately, during your time in service, you will come across persons who have no desire or motivation to train or educate themselves. Some will even see it as a waste of time. I implore you today to never listen to those voices, those voices are not ones of reason but of treason. I say treason because if you look at the meaning of the word, it is a crime against the state, an attempt to overthrow your government; once you see your mind as your government, as the thing that rules, that can keep you in control, then you will never allow the voices of treason to overtake you and eventually destroy your mind,” he said. (LG)