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Nov 21, 2000

Firefighters improve skills

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With a number of fire engines and other equipment being dispensed countrywide, the Belize Fire Service is undergoing something of a transformation. But new tools don’t put out fires if the personnel are not trained to use them. That process is an ongoing one, which has received a helping hand from the far north.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

The firemen who have been with the department for a little over a year, are learning about how fires behave and how best to fight them.

The one-week training seminar is the result of an ongoing exchange programme between the National Fire Service and the Fire Department of Langford, British Colombia, Canada. The emphasis on the course was practical. First, the men had to learn how to quickly and safely put on their gear.

Rich Finley, Assistant Chief Training Officer, LAFC

“We don’t really put a time limit as long as it is safe and everything is done up properly so once they do enter the confines of the fire area that they are totally protected as best they possible can without forgetting anything.”

The course also included sessions on the use of fire extinguishers and breathing apparatus.

Michael Middleton, Training Officer, Nat’l Fire Service

“This is what basic fire fighting is all about, fire behaviour which includes method of extinguishment, causes of fire and so forth. When it comes to fire extinguishers and we are out there somewhere where we approach a fire, we are not on duty, but we meet a fire there and there is an extinguisher and the guys know exactly how to use it. And for the part on breathing apparatus, well on duty you know when we get a fire call we will need to know how to use a breathing apparatus so you can go into the building and do it properly.”

The National Fire Service conducts three training seminars every year. At the end of this session, there will be an assessment and those who did well on the course will receive a certificate that meets international standards.

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