Firefighters deny lack of talent to fill top jobs

| 13/02/2018 | 36 Comments

(CNS): A group of firefighters have said that a recent review of the service by PricewaterhouseCoopers, published last week, that painted a bleak picture over succession planning is misleading. The men and women who are on the front line of the job told CNS that there are many people in the service that have the training, experience, qualifications and skills to take over a number of the top jobs, including the deputy chief’s post, which is currently empty. The firefighters are also concerned that the new chief has not made any real effort to plan for his successor as he seeks to hold on to his own job.

The firefighters said that the ministry’s announcement in the change of standards and training to follow the UK National Occupational System (NOS) is a red-herring and part of a direct attempt to mislead the public and make them believe that the current skill level in the service is such that no one is currently qualified to advance to senior positions.

The fire officers explained that they have been trained by, and are following, standards set by the US National Firefighters Association (NFPA), and said they were baffled by the report’s findings.

“We are not sure what criteria or system was used by PWC to determine who was qualified or who was not, but it is quite apparent that they did not utilize the standards that are adopted into law by the department for each respective section,” a spokesperson for the fire officers said.

They also questioned the claim by Chief Fire Officer David Hails at a press briefing to announce the review that the Cayman Islands Fire Service Aerodrome Division presently operates under or follows the UK National Occupational System.

“The Aerodrome Division operates from the Airport Operational Manuel that is unique to the Cayman Islands Fire Service and as the agreement between Cayman Islands Airport Authority and the service,” the spokesperson stated. “The document only stipulates that the department training for the aerodrome officers be conducted by a recognised aerodrome rescue and fire fighting intuition in the UK. Nowhere in the manual does it stipulate that the service has to conform to the NOS.”

The firefighters are concerned, they said, that the issue of succession planning is being ignored, despite the requirement of the chief when he was appointed to identify and train a Caymanian to fill his post, as a priority, and to develop a succession for the entire service.
The report, released last week, pointed to a number of issues in the service and also made it clear that morale in the fire service remains very low, with the vast majority of firefighters distrusting management.

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Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The fire still burns!

  2. Philip says:

    just waiting for Mr. Bernie Bush to come out with a statement, whom was happily sitting on to of the fire trucks with the middle management during the pirates week parade, that my friends says it all.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How many conferences and seminars and how often has the new chief attended since he joined the Fire Service, and who has accompanied him from the Fire Service?

  4. No state citizen says:

    Just something I observed in workplaces here that the Fire Service or maybe the Public Service as a whole should make a note of……just because someone has worked at a company for 20 plus years, this does not make them suitable or qualified to be in charge.

    A person could have qualifications but many things may not make them a good leader.

    1.If they are not able to motivate their team 2.Not able to separate friendships from supervisor/subordinate relationship.
    3.Not critical thinkers or thinkers at all.
    4.if they cannot be strategic or do not have vision or a plan to develop, improve the workplace and its employees.
    5. Can they articulate themselves in a way that is clearly understood?
    6.Do they have solutions for issues that may arise?
    7. Would they be able to formulate a budget?
    8. Can they write a proper letter or email?

    Some people believe that being a manager is about being in charge and delegating and so much more to the job than that.

    Some people were born to be leaders and some were born to be just the “worker bees”.
    People may not like that reality but it is reality.
    All leaders are worker bees but not all worker bees are leaders.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The fact that this article even gets published shows the issues within the fire service. My money would be on PWC understanding a lot more of the issues than some great, fantastic, dedicated, but possibly ultimately not prepared firemen who potentially have grudges following lack of promotion

  6. Lewis says:

    The truth the politicians and immigration failed these men and women. Where is the business staffing plan? Every business on island according to law should have a business succession plan.

    • Anonymous says:

      It must be tragic to hold such misguided beliefs. Shows what molly-coddling, entitlement and tiny electoral base can lead to.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Being qualified is one thing; being a professional, strategic thinker capable of modernising a workforce is an entirely different thing. The road is long but not impossible.

  8. Hosepipe says:

    Typical questions asked of new recruits to the Fire Service:
    ‘Can you play dominoes?’
    ‘Do you mind watching pornographic videos?’
    ‘Can you sign your name?’

    In that order.

  9. anonymous says:

    Rodney Rivers seems a very capable a steady individual, who is also a respected Special Constable that could be groomed. Interesting his name is never mentioned. Is it because he’s not one of the boys? And another thing, why blame the current incumbent for years of neglect by his predecessors? Rome wasn’t built in a day but it shouldn’t be a lifetime either!

  10. Anonymous says:

    PWC should have suggested that we adopt their
    paralympian training manual and nothing more…

  11. Anonymous says:

    fire service tells you everything you need to know about the local work force….

    • Anonymous says:

      Wait. They have the most dangerous job in the world. Wait they should be paid more then the police. Wait they claim millions of dollars a year in overtime just for “being on the job” wait where is buju!!! That says it all.

      Firemen/ women. If you want respect do what the police customs and immigration do. Earn the respect, don’t smoke weed, stop the infighting, stop the back stabbing and work together.

  12. Anonymous says:

    They are fire officers. Firefighters actually fight fires. Where is Bugu!!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    The term “firefighter” is a horrific mangling of the English language. The term is “firemen”. English uses the male form for collective terms including men and women.

  14. Anonymous says:

    They had one qualified person that sadly suffered from life-threatening illness.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why isn’t the spokesperson for this group hurling objections identifying them-self? To me, that anonymizing of their complaints serves to illustrate the vacuum of leadership.

    • Anonymous says:

      What kind of “VACUUM” do the officers need to display?!??

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would they do that. You know that life would be made so difficult for them on the job afterwards. No vacuum, merely protecting themselves from victimization.

  16. Anonymous says:

    They are more than qualified professional domino players

    • Anonymous says:

      I know the double standards. If it was a local in charge requesting all the kit mentioned, it would just be a “wish-list”.

      Also, he is just doing things to secure his position. I know the strategy.

      I hope they will benefit from review of the London fire service, who lost a whole tower block and many lives.

      • Anonymous says:

        You can’t put that down to the London Fire Service, many heroic acts were recorded that night in the face of great danger, as Cayman’s own heroes sometimes face. The people who supplied the cladding were to blame there, nothing the fire fighters could have done…

        • Anonymous says:

          I think that you are missing the point. The U.K. Fire Prevention Division is to be blamed they are responsible for the inforcement of the nations fire code requirements. That’s where the failour was, no proper building codes or fire codes were in forced. Even after numerous complaints and concerns from the occupants.

          Oh and the current Chief Fire Officer stated the he was worked in as a member of the U.K. Fire Safety section. That’s speaks volume for his skill set.

          • Reggie says:

            I suspect you display the local grammar skills that PWC refer to !?

          • Anonymous says:

            No, I didn’t miss the point. You just don’t want to see it.

            • Anonymous says:

              Actually, the cladding was within existing building regulations and all recognised escape drills were observed for a building of that design and age. It may not have been suitable or the testing rigorous enough, but that isn’t the LFB’s fault, that’s the fault of those who set the perimeters if there is any ‘fault’ at all with the enforcement of regulations. However, it is becoming clear that most blame will undoubtably lie with those contractors who deliberately utilised sub standard materials to save on costs.
              And in any case, there is a judge led enquiry leading the investigation into the fire and its causes, so perhaps you should give your self opiniated and biased diatribe a rest until the experts have made their case.

              And let’s not be taken in by the ranting of a buch of self righteous left wing rabble rousers who are parasitically furthering their warped political ambitions from such an awful tragedy. I doubt whether the truth will ever come out of the true numbers living in Grenfell, the number of apartments illegally sub let or the syphoning off of the people’s aid to Grenfell victims that found its way to Syria or another cause unilaterally granted worthy by the great unwashed and middle class hand wringers of metropolitan London.

              Personally, I believe that there are only a few examples where full time firefighters need to be employed, major cities, airports, industrial centres etc…. in almost every other country the use of part time, (volunteer/retained) staff is perfectly adequate for the decreasing amount of fire related work they need to react to, mainly down to building design and fire prevention measures. This is why fire services are getting more involved in joint response ambulance work, water rescue and any other SAR work that is unrelated to actually fighting fires, most notably motor vehicle related.

              Fire bosses are clearly looking at ways in which to justify a full time service in all districts whilst claiming huge sums of money doing tasks that are unrelated to their core service and keeping artificially high employment numbers for their ‘Caymanian’ only service.
              The apparent addition of an inshore rescue service being one of them.
              This latest foray into SAR should have been left to those whose main business and expertise is marine based, such as Port Authority, Marine Unit and DOE, the govt should be funding these expert marine services fully before looking towards building yet another fiefdom for under worked fireman.
              Or better still, form a voluntary lifeboat service on the lines of the UK RNLI open to all experts in the field, regardless of nationality.

      • Tut alors!. says:

        12.00pm how many times do we hear this gabage, making entirely false and inappropriate comparisons with incidents in the UK. Man up, and like most of the other commentators on this article recognise you have a home grown problem.

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