Fire officers specially trained

The continued commitment to training fire officers in the latest technologies and methods to combat fires resulted in key officers attending the Command and Control training at the National Emergency Training Centre in Maryland, USA.

Divisional Officer Doorly McLaughlin and Station Officer Oscar Rivers attended the two-week training from 10-21 October specifically targeting multi-alarm incidents.

In such conditions, requiring a large number of personnel and equipment, it is crucial for officers in charge to effectively manage events.

‘As fire scenes evolve during the course of an emergency, many factors need to be micromanaged for everything to work properly,’ explained Mr. McLaughlin. ‘The response is only as good as the team responding, so it is vital for lead officers to efficiently and swiftly make decisions that will ultimately determine the outcome of the incident.’

Some of these factors include allocation of manpower, economic dispatch of equipment, and thorough assessment of the situation throughout the course of the event, Mr. McLaughlin explained.

The NETC training dealt with various strategies to be incorporated when dealing with a large scale incident and the erratic nature of fires. Its unique approach included 14 virtual fire simulations, allowing all 26 participants to act as lead officers managing a fire.

‘This training was as realistic as being in a real fire; it was almost as if you could smell the smoke and feel the fire, while actually experiencing the same amount of stress as a real fire,’ commented Mr. McLaughlin. ‘We were put in scenarios ranging from the inside of a shopping plaza, to a school, and allowing a 360 degree look at almost all aspects of the blaze. It was very similar to what pilots use in flight simulation and really made the experience distinctive.’

The Cayman Islands Fire Service has plans to continue using this particular training centre in the future to address the ever-changing needs of fire training.

‘This centre provides our officers with superior training, and helps to keep us on par with international standards,’ explained Chief Fire Officer Kirkland Nixon. ‘NETC is considered the best training institute in the United States and it is an honour that the CI Fire Services have been able to take advantage of the superior programmes available there.’

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Roy Grant was the first officer to attend Executive Planning training at NETC earlier this year.