Another batch of 20 young Barbadians will this year again reap real benefits from the annual Junior Fire Cadet Programme, run by the Barbados Fire Service, and designed to instill character, confidence, self-esteem and self-discipline.

The Fire Service is this year urging parents and guardians not only to enter their 13 to15-year-old children for the five-week scheme but also commit them to the full training course. 

“Too often we get children starting the project and dropping out after a week or two because their parents have other arrangements for their summer holidays,” said Fire Officer Angela Etienne-Reveira, course coordinator.

Scheduled for July 14 to August 15, 2008, the sessions are free and will be conducted from Monday through Friday, lasting from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily.

Students are reminded that entry into the programme is by application form and a follow-up interview. Forms are available at Headquarters Fire Station, Probyn Street, Bridgetown or Arch Hall Fire Station, St. Thomas from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.  They must be returned on or before June 6, 2008.

The practical and theoretical exercises planned for the fire cadets include proper techniques for handling and working with fire hoses, nozzles, many of the various fittings and basic first aid. The cadets will be taught about the organisational structure of the Fire Service; what it takes to become a firefighter and the importance of a sound education. A water safety awareness session taught by the Barbados Coast Guard is also in the programme.

Instructors will observe the fire cadets on hikes and nature walks intended to test their physical endurance, mental strength and overall survival techniques.

In the classroom, the students will be instructed in fire prevention, fire protection, team building and discipline. This combination of classroom and outdoor training is to impress on them the value of teamwork, regulation, goal-setting and respect for themselves and the community.

The fire cadets are also required to prepare and present group projects of not less than 500 words on community-related topics or issues. 

“The Junior Fire Cadet Programme is a training curriculum,” said organiser Mrs. Etienne-Reveira.

“And it should not be interpreted as a leisure or casual vacation experience,” she declared. “The aim is to provide good work habits and build positive attitudes among all participants enrolled. Anything less is unacceptable in the Barbados Fire Service.”

The fire officer expressed the organisation’s hope that “each cadet will leave this programme with a better sense of responsibility and that he or she will be more accountable for his or her own actions within the family unit and in the community”.

“We hope that by exposing cadets to the skills of firefighters and the rules employees must follow to achieve success, that they will have a better idea where they fit into today’s world with their future goals,” she added.

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