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Fire Service may need to keep some overseas firefighters

Firefighters in action (File photo by Akil Simmons)

The number of overseas firefighters stationed at LF Wade International Airport is to drop by ten as the latest cohort of freshly trained Bermudian staff mark their passing-out parade on Monday at Hamilton Fire Station.

Michael Weeks, the national security minister, said 15 overseas staff would remain on duty for up to six months while new Bermudian recruits were “trained up to the point of being airport personnel”.

The latest Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service recruitment drive attracted 285 applicants.

Mr Weeks said that it was “higher than it has been in recent years”, but conceded that overseas personnel might still be needed if the BFRS was left with a shortfall of successful recruits.

“Based on the new international requirement, there is a complement of firefighters needed at the airport,” he said. “If you can’t get that complement that you need locally, then we have to look at our options.”

His remarks came after a source within the BFRS, speaking anonymously, said overseas staff would likely be needed for eight more months to a year as the island tried to bolster its local staff.

The source said the service would struggle to obtain the necessary numbers from the island.

“The ones from Canada are on a contract basis, like consultants. They may look to hire more people on work permits.”

The high bar in the BFRS application process has been repeatedly cited as compounding the island’s difficulty in getting sufficient Bermudian firefighters.

Mr Weeks said that the vetting procedure was under review.

“Those revisions are ongoing,” he added. “Once that is completed, I will take them as an information paper to Cabinet.”

To read the minister’s statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

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Published March 10, 2023 at 7:47 am (Updated March 10, 2023 at 7:47 am)

Fire Service may need to keep some overseas firefighters

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