Upgrade for Fire Service
The Barbados Fire Service (BFS) is in line for an upgrade.
Word of this came Monday morning from Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite, who disclosed that it was Government’s intention to renew the BFS fleet and construct a state-of-the-art training facility.
He also called on members of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters (IABPFF) to share their best practices with the local team to ensure they were always on “the cutting edge”.
“We want to develop a state-of-the-art training facility and, indeed, we want to see ourselves as the trainer of trainers not only for Barbados but also for the Eastern Caribbean,” Brathwaite said, in an address to the 23rd Biennial IBPFF Convention at the Hilton Resort.
Pointing out that traditionally, most fires in Barbados occurred on properties, bush and cane fields, the Attorney General said there was need for advanced training as the island embarked on building more high-rise structures and manufacturing various chemicals.
“Our young colleagues will tell me that one of the challenges that we have going forward is the fact that we are now moving into an era where we have high-rise buildings in Barbados . . . That is an area that I think we need to spend a bit more time training our officers in, and maybe an area that we can explore further opportunities between your organization and us as a country and region,” Brathwaite told the gathering.
“We have been paying particular attention to training . . . .We are in the process of doing a fleet renewal here in Barbados and, as minister responsible, I have been trying even in the face of some fiscal challenges to see how best we can modernize the Barbados Fire Service and make them as progressive an organization as possible.”
Brathwaite did not give further details on the planned fleet renewal. However, Barbados TODAY has been informed that the current fleet of 16 fire tenders is over ten years old and “tired”.
Divisional officer Mervin Mayers said the BFS would only be welcoming two new fire tenders from England within another three weeks.
The five-day convention attended by black firefighters, predominantly from the Caribbean and the United States, will focus on discussions about challenges facing fire departments around the globe and will look at possible solutions under the theme, Still Fighting Fires and Racism.
Officials of the IBPFF said there were still several issues facing black firefighters, including inequality, injustice and lack of opportunities.