Firemen quicken up the pace

Quick hands are a staple for local fire-fighters in the field. Now, thanks to a speed-typing course, the same can be said with their work in the office.

Gilbert Barnes

Gilbert Barnes improved his typing greatly.
Photo: Matthew Yates

Late last month six members of the Cayman Islands Fire Service underwent a one week course lead by renowned Jamaican educator Almena King.

King has developed a distinctly unique system of speed typing that has become known as the Almena Method. Basically it focuses on assigning one’s fingers to certain sections of the keyboard.

Those sections are imprinted in persons’ minds by colourful acronyms. Some examples include ‘Quiet Aunt Zelda’ and ‘Every Dollar Counts.’

King was brought to Cayman by the Civil Service College of the Cayman Islands under its Leadership Learning component along with Hobbies and Books owner William ‘Billy’ Adams.

Both saw the course as the best way to equip Cayman and its civil servants with such a necessary tool as speed typing.

Adams, who stocks CDs containing the digital version of the course, in particular wants to avoid Caymanians having fear using the computer.

‘I’ve always been pushing for it. I know what it’s like not to be able to speed type. When I started out using the computer I was scared of it.’

The results from the course were phenomenal. Statistics showed staff members going from as low as eight words per minute to over 25 words per minute, with little to no errors.

Among the members of the Fire Department who took part in the course was Crew Commander Ernest Barnes. In his eyes the course reaped great dividends.

‘I came in doing something like eight words a minute. In about a hour doing the course I was up to 19 words a minute. It’s a real accomplishment to me.

‘Everyone is typing their own work these days and speed-typing is an important skill to master.

‘The system is imprinted in my mind and I can’t get it out of my head. In school I never learned that or the computer. I want my kids to learn it because it would be a real help to them.’

Another satisfied participant of the course is Acting Senior Division Officer Gilbert Rankin.

Rankin says the course was certainly needed.

‘It was more than worth it to me. Before I was doing like 12 words a minute with four or so errors. Now I’m up to 29 words a minute thanks to the course.’

From here more sessions will be held by Ms. King at the Fire Service. The ultimate goal is to see the course being taught to other government agencies and even schools.

In spite of her success with Cayman’s fire-fighters Ms. King is humble and as cool as water.

‘It’s all mental and to me it’s self-based learning. Everyone needs keyboarding skills. The beauty of my course is you can take what you learn with you around the globe.’

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