Following a busy operational year for the Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS), 18 fire officer recruits joined the ranks at the end of August.
The men and one woman that make up the latest cohort are all Caymanian or are married to a Caymanian and come from Grand Cayman as well as Cayman Brac.
Arriving after the previous batch of 21 recruits graduated in January 2020, the newest fire recruits help to meet the long term, changing needs of CIFS.
“Part of the government’s long-running commitment towards CIFS and our community’s safety is strengthening the service’s resource capacity to reinforce safe systems of work and secure its long term resilience,” said Minister for Home Affairs, Hon. Tara Rivers.
“We are very pleased to welcome this cohort of dedicated individuals into CIFS. I look forward to seeing them develop into world class fire officers and making a positive contribution to the fire service long into the future.”
Recruitment for these positions began a year ago though the start date for training had to be delayed due to the refocusing of efforts towards the national COVID-19 response.
Over 110 applications were initially received by the Ministry of Home Affairs. All Caymanian and Permanent Residents who applied were then invited to complete the initial literacy and numeracy proficiency assessment.
Those who achieved a pass mark progressed through the grueling selection process which tests the applicants physical ability and included an interview as well as background, criminal, reference and medical checks.
“We train all our successful candidates in the required international standards and competencies for firefighting, so when selecting new officers during recruitment, we primarily look for particular traits that contribute towards an ideal fire officer,” explains Chief Fire Officer, Paul Walker, QFSM.
“The work we do as firefighters requires someone who is a solid team player first and foremost as well as service orientated, dependable and adaptable. Everyone in this cohort has impressed us so far and we look forward to seeing them progress in the fire service.”
The new recruits began their 18 weeks of core competency training on Monday, 17 August.
Once they graduate, they will begin a year of practical, on-the-job training, rotating through divisions and fire stations. In that time, they must also complete international certification exams ensuring they meet international standards for firefighting.