The Barbados Fire Service (BFS) has been challenged to boost its numbers following a series of promotions under the Public Service (Appointments) Act 2020.
Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, issued this challenge as he addressed a presentation ceremony for a donation of five automatic emergency defibrillators (AEDs) from Sagicor Life Inc., at the Arch Hall Fire Station recently.
“If we are planning to branch the Fire Service out to provide emergency pre-medical assistance, then we need more fire officers. We have created the space at the bottom, now at the entry level positions. I want to talk about filling those. Let us inject some hope back into the Fire Service,” he said.
The Minister noted that the major issue was one of morale due to the stagnation of the posts, but that was no longer the case. “Build your organisation to make the Barbados Fire Service an attractive career choice,” he advised.
Mr. Abrahams commended the BFS for the strides it was making to re-establish itself as an organisation of first choice for those who wanted to serve their country.
He noted that the Barbados Fire Academy was testimony to this, as it was a registered training institution with the Barbados Accreditation Council and sought to offer a range of courses, including Crew, Watch and Station Manager.
During his address, the Minister also commended the management of Sagicor Life Inc. for the donation, noting that the devices will be placed on emergency vehicles and at fire stations. He also praised the management of the BFS for its vision of assisting with pre-hospital medical care.
“This donation will go a long way in ensuring that the members of the Barbados Fire Service have the appropriate tools and equipment to do the job,” he noted.
Executive Vice President and General Manager of Sagicor Life Inc., Paul Inniss, said that fire officers have always been at the forefront of the battle to save lives, livelihoods and properties, while risking their own lives to keep others safe.
He stated that the insurance company sought to recognise the efforts of those on the front line through a series of donations, providing moratoriums on payment plans and through the launch of their Healthcare Heroes Plan for essential medical workers and, more recently, the Frontline Heroes Plan for those in the protective services.
“We want to demonstrate in a tangible way, Sagicor’s commitment to partnering with the Barbados Fire Service, to provide them with equipment that can assist with saving lives,” he said, noting that fire officers will be better able to diagnose and treat life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias with the use of the AEDs.