CHANGING TRENDS NECESSITATE TRAINING FOR FIRE OFFICERS
The construction of high-rise buildings across Barbados, and the use of new chemicals and materials on the market, all present new challenges for fire officers, and necessitate additional training.
Mr. Brathwaite told the approximately 200 fire fighters that the new trends represented a break from tradition in Barbados, where fire officers of the Barbados Fire Service (BFS) and others throughout the region mainly fought house, bush and cane fires.
However, he stated that these changing trends also presented new opportunities for training: “One of the challenges we have going forward is that we are moving into an era where we have high-rise buildings in Barbados… It is an area [in which] I think we need to spend more time training our officers, and may be an area that we can explore further within your organisation …”
He suggested that there could be significant opportunities for the international organisation, Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean to incorporate best practices to remain on the cutting edge.
“We want to see ourselves as the trainer of the trainers, not only for Barbados but the Eastern Caribbean,” he asserted.
In addition, Mr. Brathwaite disclosed that the Barbados Fire Service’s fleet was in the process of being renewed and modernised to ensure that the Service remained a progressive organisation.
He also agreed that the face of fire-fighting had changed over the years, and was now considered as a science and an industry which could not be ignored.
Regional Director of the IABPFF, Bernard Bowen, noted that the organisation’s mission was to fight for equal rights and opportunities for minority fire fighters worldwide.