The Barbados Fire Service (BFS) is positioning itself to provide medical interventions to persons requiring prehospital emergency medical care. And, it will be pursuing the possibility of acquiring Automated External Defibrillators for all fire stations and emergency vehicles.

This was revealed by Chief Fire Officer, Errol Maynard, during the BFS’s awards ceremony and dinner at the Savannah Hotel last Saturday night.

“It is our vision to respond to non-fire emergencies such as medical emergencies and provide an early intervention that can save many lives. No longer can this country have a fire and rescue service that does not attend to some level of medical emergency call,” he stated.

He reasoned that “in this way, citizens and visitors will have faster intervention in unfortunate circumstances”.

Mr. Maynard explained that the BFS had trained Emergency Medical Technicians and Emergency Medical First Responders, who were strategically placed around the island, and easily accessible to the people in need.

He further stressed that the BFS could no longer be a bystander in the provision of prehospital care, as it was “perfectly positioned” to be used in what has evolved to become the mainstay of many departments in the industry.

However, the Fire Chief made it clear that it was not his organization’s intention to compete with the Emergency Ambulance Service, but rather to augment the service they presently provided. He added that as a tourist-dependent country, the changing expectations and perceived role of the BFS could not be ignored.

Mr. Maynard told those present that the BFS was also seeking to strengthen its capacity to more effectively respond to water rescue incidents. “The fire and rescue service of yesterday cannot fulfil the mandates of today. The challenges and demands have evolved. No longer can we sit in a station and wait for something to happen.

“No longer can we wait for that faint call for help. No longer can we see a problem and ignore it because it does not fall under our remit. Everything that involves life is our concern,” he pointed out.

Mr. Maynard suggested that the BFS needed to employ better educational, prevention and intervention methods to its daily operations as it becomes more forceful with its enforcement programmes.

That, he said, would involve having insurance companies and other stakeholders on board to provide incentives to encourage persons to insure their homes and properties, comply with codes and regulations and have their staff adequately trained. “The losses for not doing so are much greater than the perceived savings,” the Chief Fire Officer cautioned.


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