In June 2020 we reported on the ambitious plans and aspirations of the Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS) as it was undergoing a review of the opportunities and future plans for the unique Caribbean islands service under the leadership of Interim Chief Fire Officer Paul Walker QFSM, MA, FIFireE.
At that time interim Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Walker and his Senior Leadership Team shared their desire for CIFS to become the best Fire Service in the Caribbean and to meet the Governor’s goal of being a World-Class Civil Service. Part of the CIFS journey was to introduce a framework of recognised qualifications that demonstrated the Service operated with a qualified and professional workforce.
In support of the organisation’s professional development and accreditation, CIFS selected the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) to create its professional framework. CFO Walker, himself a Fellow of the IFE and his Senior Leadership Team met with IFE leaders from the UK and USA and established the Service as Corporate Members of the Institution. This affiliation has given CIFS the opportunity for the organisation and individual members of staff to work for and achieve IFE accreditation and qualifications.
A significant milestone in the CIFS journey was recognised in September 2021 when Cayman Islands Home Affairs Minister, the Honourable Bernie Bush presented 13 firefighters with their Level 2 Certificates in Fire Service Operations and Safety from the IFE. The success of the candidates was celebrated at a presentation at the Service’s Central Fire Station on Grand Cayman.
The successful candidates earned their qualifications earlier this year by successfully completing a three-hour, 120-question examination in March 2021. The presentation ceremony marked another step on the Cayman Islands Fire Service’s continuous journey of self-improvement and professional development.
Speaking at the event, Mr Bush remarked: ‘I am so pleased to present these professional fire and rescue certificates to these young Caymanians. Internationally recognised professional qualifications reinforce the capabilities and professionalism of our front-line firefighters who work tirelessly to keep residents, businesses and visitors safe across our three Islands.’
Chief Fire Officer Paul Walker said: ‘This is amazing news and I offer congratulations to my Cayman Islands Fire Service colleagues that were successful on this occasion. I encourage you all to continue your professional studies and go on to attain IFE Level 3 Certificates.’ He added: ‘We hope to continue this trend, increasing the number of participants as well as the level of qualifications being achieved through the tiered examination programme with the IFE.’
The IFE is a global professional membership body for those in the fire sector that seek to increase their knowledge, professional recognition and understanding of fire through a global discourse. With over 100 years of history, the IFE is instrumental in shaping a future world that is safer from fire.
Managed for fire professionals by fire professionals, the IFE aims to promote, encourage and improve the science, practice and professionalism of fire engineering, acting as a beacon of established expertise and guiding the way to a fire-safe future.
Membership grades for the IFE are awarded from Student to Fellow, providing an internationally recognised fire engineering professional framework.
Chief Walker said: ‘CIFS has ambitions to establish a Cayman Islands IFE Branch where fire and rescue colleagues are joined as members by industry partners, such as architects, structural engineers, planners, fire risk assessors and general engineers.
‘All IFE members have the opportunity to gain further professional qualifications through the IFE, and subject to previous experience and accredited prior learning can seek Registered Chartered Engineer status.
‘Any person from industry partner companies or agencies interested in working with CIFS to establish a Cayman Islands IFE branch is invited to provide their contact details to any of the five community fire stations.’