The Barbados Fire Academy Auxiliary Fire Officers’ Recruit Course #39 has been labelled “the finest crop of officers to pass through the Fire Academy”.
And, they have been challenged to maintain the high standards set during their six months of training under COVID-19 conditions.
Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, has challenged the management of the Barbados Fire Service to allow the 23 recruits to set the standard for others entering the profession.
He made these comments during the closing ceremony for the course at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology yesterday, as he commended the recruits for successfully completing the adapted recruitment programme and pushing ahead, despite the challenges they experienced.
“Ensure that the training that was made available to them, makes them not just the best fire officers passing out, but the best cadre of fire officers ever to enter the service. Let them set the standard for everybody else,” he said.
Chief Fire Officer, Errol Maynard, said there were a number of firsts for the recruits. “You were the first cohort of Fire Service recruits that were in training for more than six months; you were the first to be confined to barracks for the entire duration of the training programme; and you were the first to be trained as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) as part of your recruiting programme.”
The Fire Chief encouraged the new officers to make decisions for themselves, and to never allow anyone to determine where they should go in their career. “Reach for the stars. Set high standards for yourself, and don’t allow others to derail your path to success,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Instructor for the EMT Course, Shelly-Ann Chase, noted that the 16 EMTs successfully completed their course of study in 61 subjects, including Prehospital Care, Medical Emergencies, Trauma and Ambulance Operations, Emergency Childbirth, Cardiac Emergencies and Acute Strokes.
“These 16 overcame the challenges of this year, away from the usual buffers of simple coping mechanisms, such as resting in your own bed at home, going home after a hard day’s work, seeing that loved one for additional comfort, or talking to them, among other things.
“Yet they came out more than conquerors with some of the highest collective percentages and averages the course has ever seen,” she said.
And, in a break away from the traditional passing out parade that signals their official entry into the Barbados Fire Service, the recruits added to their list of firsts as they wowed their audience, including Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, with their performances in song and dramatic presentations.
By the end of the ceremony, recruit Dylan Scantlebury was named as the Most Outstanding Recruit, while Darren Brathwaite won the Chief Instructor’s Trophy.
The recruits were also awarded in a range of other categories, including Best at Hose and Hydrant, Best at Foot Drill, Outstanding Performance in Theory, and Best Overall Student (medical).