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Fire Service starts recruitment drive to cover staff shortfalls

The Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service in action (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

A recruitment drive for new firefighters has been announced to boost an emergency service that has struggled with a lack of staff and equipment.

The call for 11 new members of the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service officially opens today.

Michael Weeks, the national security minister, said he was pleased at the start of recruitment to “bolster the ranks” of the BFRS.

“I would encourage women and men looking for a challenging and rewarding career of service to the community to apply.

“It’s important to recognise the incredible job the BFRS has done over the last two years throughout the pandemic.

“These women and men have been at the forefront of emergency response serving the public non-stop, often unseen, and the entire community appreciates their efforts.”

The service, which was hit by a 21-day strike notice last November by the Fire Service Association over a dearth of staff at Clearwater fire station in Southside, was reported this month to be considering bringing in retired firefighters to boost numbers.

East End residents are having to go without a dedicated fire service for extended periods because firefighting crews have to be assigned to cover the airport under international safety guidelines.

According to the fire and rescue service, a manpower shortage means it is unable to respond to local emergencies for several hours on at least five days a week without drafting in fire crews from central and western parishes.

BFRS insiders complained the service was short of resources after a 2016 blaze consumed a building on Front Street — as well as the Robertson’s Drugstore fire of 2017.

New candidates accepted after entrance assessments will embark on a 22-week training course to prepare for the rigours of the job.

Successful recruits will qualify as emergency medical technicians as well as firefighters.

Mr Weeks said he was confident high-quality candidates would take the organisation to go from strength to strength.

The starting salary was said to be approximately $70,000, with full benefits.

Applicants must 18 or older, no shorter than 5ft 5in, have 20-30 vision without correctors or colour blindness, and have at least a high school diploma, GED or equivalent.

Passing the BFRS entrance exam includes a maths test.

Applicants must also hold a valid manual car driver’s licence — and pass both a drug test and psychological assessment.

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Published April 29, 2022 at 7:41 am (Updated April 29, 2022 at 7:41 am)

Fire Service starts recruitment drive to cover staff shortfalls

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