Panama – Panama Deployment 2014

2 March, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Panama - Arriving in Panama


Panama Deployment 2014

 FRITA’s 2014 deployments were a significant step forward for the organization. FRITA partnered with the JIBC to provide certified and standardized training to fire service personnel in El Salvador, Colombia, and Panama.  In addition, FRITA once again administered the One World Scholarship program for four recent graduates of the JIBC Fire and Safety Division Career Fire Fighter Pre-Employment Certificate.

 Panama Deployment:

FRITA’s 2014 Panama deployment was led off with the two week in-country portion of the JIBC One World Scholarship, provided by the Irving K Barber Fellowship. The three credit course, “Fire Protection in the Global Community ,” was delivered to four candidates selected from the JIBC Fire and Safety Division’s Career Fire Fighter Pre-Employment Certificate programs of 2013. This year’s team consisted of Olivier Hovasse, Millan Lavallee, Michael Crisp, and Ryan Millen. The students and two JIBC/FRITA instructors, Kim Saulnier (Coquitlam Fire) and Matthew Witt (Surrey Fire), departed January 28, and traveled through central and western Panama learning all about the Panamanian Fire Service (BCBRP), Panamanian culture and history, and learning Spanish.

Most importantly, the team spent five hot and exhausting days preparing 30 new BCBRP recruits for their evaluations in the JIBC Basic Firefighter Certificate program.  Without the expertise of this team and these valuable training hours, these new recruits would have found the specific techniques and concepts of the NFPA standards a significant challenge.

The 30 recruits were hand picked from the over 200 new candidates undergoing basic training as they prepare to join the ranks of the BCBRP. Under the leadership of their Training Officer Alejandro Bonilla, this group bonded to become a highly motivated, supportive, and ultimately successful team. This ended up earning them the reputation of being the “A Team” of the entire recruit class.

On February 7, a team of three Canadian firefighters (Bill Eggers-Nanaimo Fire, Jenn Dawkins-Vancouver Fire, and Matthew Leonard-St John’s Fire, Newfoundland) arrived to conduct the practical evaluations and proctor the written exams for the Basic Firefighter Certificate.

While several recruits required their remedial, or second chance, in order to achieve the standard, they all showed the determination and perseverance required to pass the practical evaluations. This was no small feat as many of the requirements and evolutions were introduced to them only weeks prior to the testing period.

The written exams are currently being graded and we are hoping for a similar success rate.

This inspiring program has laid the foundation for the growth of the partnership between the BCBRP, the JIBC and FRITA in the years to come.  2015 will see another group of BCBRP recruits receive the Basic Firefighter Certificate and plans are underway to carry forward the successful candidates from this year’s class to NFPA 1001 Firefighter 1 certification in 2015.  This would be the first recruit class in Central or South America to receive training and certification to NFPA standards. Something FRITA, the JIBC, and the BCBRP can be justifiably proud of!