Belize 2015

FRITA Team: Brian Hutchinson (Team Lead), Bill Eggers, Eric Froese, Denis Murru, Mike Canaday, Kiko Pilas, Kai Jones.
Belize National Fire Service: 32 Sub-Station Officers, Leading Firemen, and Mechanics (4).

Submitted by Team Lead Brian Hutchinson:

Following a full year of communications that began with a letter of introduction hand delivered in March of 2014, the Belize Deployment of FRITA instructors for 2015 commenced on February 13th (Friday) and concluded the following Saturday February 21st. The first two days (Saturday & Sunday: Feb. 14 & 15) were utilized to prepare for the training program, to discuss training equipment needs, and to coordinate acquisition of these with the Belize National Fire Service (BNFS) hosts.

The Belize Deployment 2015 was conducted over 5 full days and delivered single day instruction in five topic areas: Hazardous Materials Response Operations, Fire Ground Survival, Auto-Extrication, Rapid Intervention Team-Officer, and Interior Firefighting Operations. Instructional days began sharply at 0830 and concluded by 1630 each day. The participants were broken into groups of 5 or 6 and rotated through each of these topics. A group of 4 fire apparatus mechanics participated in a five-day Fleet Maintenance program. In addition, Emergency Vehicle Operations, incorporating Pre-Trip Inspections, and preventative maintenance was incorporated into the mechanical maintenance program. Notably, the Fire Chief requested that a number of the key personnel from the 5 day/5 topic program also be given an overview on the EVO topic. As such, on Wednesday a group of 12 selected Sub-station Officers were pulled from their assigned groups, and in groups of 6 were assigned to either a morning or afternoon session.
• The program was housed at the British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB) with the Auto-Extrication and Interior Firefighting being conducted in close proximity to the military base. All course participants were housed and fed on-base, making for easier starts and finishes to the day. The facilities at BATSUB were more than adequate and the hospitality provided by the British Army was outstanding.
• Participants completed a Course Survey that provided feedback on topic areas of interest, quality of instruction and duration of course.

At the conclusion of the program on the Friday, FRITA instructors and BNFS personnel were treated to a post-ceremony social at the Royal Engineers Bar (the RE Bar), where a number of cold Belikins were shared, many toasts were made, and in true fire service fashion, friendships were solidified.

In conclusion, a well organized, and well run deployment on the part of the BNFS and FRITA. Given the desire of the BNFS to have this be an ‘Advanced Leadership Course’, they took the huge step of bringing all their senior officers from across the country to participate. This demonstrates a level of commitment to the training program.Efforts are already underway planning for the 2016 program!