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Jan 12, 2012

New fire-fighters join the service

Today the Belize National Fire Service officially welcomed a new intake of firemen.  The recruits, who trained for three months will be attached to stations around the country. Aside from the lessons to tackle fires, at the ceremony this morning, they acknowledged the importance of teamwork. News Five’s Andrea Polanco was at the event, where the new fire fighters showed off their foot, physical and wet drills.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Nineteen new recruits were officially called as fire-fighters today. After thirteen weeks of intense training, Fire Chief, Francis Thomas says the young men are ready to serve the department:

Lt. Col. Francis Thomas, Fire Chief

Francis Thomas

“The training has been focused on the basics just to give the starting knowledge for the recruits, basically focusing on the fire behavior, pump on the fire truck, the use of the hoses, ladders and search and rescue in terms of the forceful break-in into structures.”

Andrea Polanco

“So these trainings that they have received, of course they are fully prepared should a fire arise anywhere?”

Lt. Col. Francis Thomas

“Roger that. These guys are fully capable of operating as a fire team on the truck and effectively do their job.”

Melvin Hulse

Minister of NEMO, Melvin Hulse, says this addition of the new fire fighters is critical to the fire service department:

Melvin Hulse, Minister of NEMO

“The public and the people who work for the fire department have never understood how serious and important the fire department is to a nation and to its people. The fire department is that service that stands between the life and death of families in their homes, people in buildings and at work, people at parties and what’s not. They are what stand between them. The fire department is what determines if poverty continues in poor people’s homes around this country, who cannot and do not insure their homes.”

Having received their certificates, Thomas says the new recruits will be deployed across the country:

Lt. Col. Francis Thomas

“They will be stationed across the country. They will be deployed to the different stations, for example, Ladyville which we just commissioned and also Pomona and other established stations like Orange Walk, Corozal, and so.”

And to boost that labour force, Hulse says much needed upgrades will follow:

Melvin Hulse

“We wah put more fire truck in Caye Caulker, more in San Pedro, we wah put on the Peninsula, we wah put in Pomona, up dah Ladyville,. We are putting fire trucks out there and we wah continue to build more fire stations. We wah got more equipment, more fire truck, more fire stations. We are putting in fire hydrants because dah nuh joke. Wah fire truck nuh last waata that long. And you get deh in the best of time as possible but if you run outta waata you going to have a problem.”

Deitrick Kingston

While equipment is vital, Valedictorian of the class, Deitrick Kingston, says teamwork is also key:

Deitrick Kingston, Valedictorian

“We have been taught many skills, ranging from search and rescue to fire suppression, but one of the most valuable skills that we have been taught is teamwork. We have been shown to work effectively as a team to accomplish task. In the fire service nothing can be accomplished unless everyone work together as team.”

For these new firefighters to continue on the right path, Hulse tasked the senior fire officials to play a proactive role in setting an example:

Melvin Hulse

“Let me start by those already in the system. How good our recruits become will be determined by the exact role of those people in the system; and so those of you all, who have been in the fire department and have kept this organization going, must take your self and the department to another level by showing example; by not driving the equipment up and down all bout the place the kill time di use it like taxi, like being there to answer a call in time of emergency, by maintaining equipment at all time because nothing more flipping ridiculous and you call pahn fire truck and  yuh hear the fire truck cyaa start and the tank is empty; now that is  ridiculous and saying sorry nuh help one single person buy back and start again in their homes when they have lost all their household.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

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