Twenty-one young men graduated from their 20 week course in firefighting and rescue training on Friday 31 February. The graduation ceremony, at the Family Life Centre of George Town, was attended by H.E The Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper, as well as senior officers from the Cayman Islands Fire Service. It began with a march-past of the new recruits, who stood to attention while they were inspected by Mr. Roper, before all the proud moms, dads, family and friends came into the hall for the graduation ceremony.
Cayman’s Chief Fire Officer, Paul Walker congratulated all the graduates on completing their basic training: “As we welcome them as colleagues to the fire and rescue family, I’d like to say: you’ve chosen your profession well; a profession of service; and profession of helping others in their time of need. It’s a profession that is challenging as individuals, as teams, and a profession where you will make lifelong friends,” he said.
Mr. Walker outlined the changing role of the firefighter over the last century: “In 2020 the roll of the professional firefighter is broader, and covers a complex ranger of incidents, societal and environmental challenges, and presents a greater number of risks and threats,” he said. “Earthquakes are an ever present possibility, as we found out earlier this week. Then there are environmental factors such as hurricanes and wide scale flooding. Technological advance requires complex skill sets, in-depth knowledge and experience. For example telemetry for breathing apparatus; aviation fire and rescue appliances and fire; electronic pumps and flow meters, thermal imaging, positive pressure ventilation, road technology, hydraulic cutting equipment hazardous materials and inland water search and rescue.
“Please support each other in challenging times, and trust me, you will face them. Inspire each other to motivate; be the best you can, and take every opportunity you can to develop your skills and knowledge. Take every opportunity you can to acquire, refresh and maintain new skills. Above all, enjoy your careers. Come to work to make a difference, come to work to learn and develop, come to work to make yourselves, your family and friends, your colleagues proud and above all, be proud to be a firefighter.”
Hon Tara Rivers, Minister for Home Affairs, said: “You are always the ones we call upon when we need help the most, and at times the demands of your role will push you to your limits, and sometimes beyond, but please note that the Government and the people of the Cayman Islands are incredibly grateful for your sacrifices and we do not take you for granted. That message is not just for the recruitment class, but for all those who are in the fire service.”
New graduate, Robert said: “Not only has training made us fitter and smarter, but it has also introduced us to. Introduced us to an international body of brave men and women who risk lives to protect property and the environment.”
Each of the recruits received their course completion certificates, and there were also some special awards presented for those who had excelled during their training.