The Barbados Fire Service (BFS), particularly its Arch Hall Fire Station and the Fire Academy, have come in for high praise from Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams.
After touring the Arch Hall, St. Thomas facilities, and riding in one of the fire appliances today, the Minister said he was pleased at what he had seen and commended the fire officers, who fall under the leadership of Chief Fire Officer, Errol Maynard.
“I really appreciate the opportunity for me to tour this fire station.… I didn’t realise how high-tech fire, and fire response have become. I am very impressed by the station. I understand that it is the newest of our stations, so this is really the standard that we need now to be trying to bring the rest of the stations up to.
“I’m impressed as well by the Academy and what the Academy represents,” he stated.
The Minister was also joined on the tour by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Deborah Payne, and Director of Public Affairs, Pat Parris.
They were updated on the operations of the BFS by Mr. Maynard, accompanied by Deputy Fire Chief, Henderson Patrick, and the senior command team of the fire station and the academy.
During that meeting Mr. Maynard highlighted some of the challenges being faced by the service, including those of promotions and staffing.
Plans for the construction of a new fire station in the Pine, St. Michael, and the establishment of a fire service presence at the Bridgetown Port were also discussed.
While acknowledging the needs of the BFS, Mr. Abrahams told the management team that they were unlikely to have all of their requests met as Government was facing challenges.
“But equally, we have to try to work with you to give you the things that we can give, to allow you to function as best you can. I am going to push hard to try to get the promotions sorted. The reality is, right is right and wrong is wrong and you can’t have people acting forever. You have no job security; people need some degree of certainty, it must affect morale,” he stated.
The Minister gave them the assurance that he would do his best to assist them in being elevated to the premier fire station in Barbados and Caribbean.
“We have to maximise what we do have. You have an excellent facility; you have excellent trainers; you have excellent staff. Let us see how we can best utilise what we have to get the maximum result for the Fire Service,” he encouraged.
During the tour, Mr. Abrahams toured the control room and other areas of the station. He also saw the physical distancing protocols in place in the barracks for recruits currently undergoing training, and had a look at the classrooms and the virtual set-up that currently exists at the Fire Academy, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.