Fire Service officer gets chaplain training

| 13/02/2017
CNS Local Life

Fire Service officer Shimar Harding

(CNS Local Life): A Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS) officer, with eight years on the job, is in Florida for a five-day accredited training course offered by the International Fellowship of Chaplains. Shimar Harding, who has served as a designated chaplain since May 2016, said with the training he wants to promote a holistic approach to the wellbeing of the CIFS fire officers, as well as develop skills that will enable him to better serve the community during incidents where grief and loss of life are involved.

A distressed father shows up at the scene of a car accident where he learns that his daughter had just died. A first responder arrives at the scene of a car accident only to learn that one of the deceased passengers is a close relative.

“A baby dies in the arms of a first responder, resulting in sleepless nights for weeks. These are not excerpts from Hollywood. These are real-life events experienced by the fire officers of the Cayman Islands Fire Service,” Harding explained.

He believes his new role will be an integral part of the response team, stated a CIFS press release.

“This is my first time travelling outside of the Cayman Islands for international chaplain training,” Harding said. “Contrary to popular belief, fire officers in the Cayman Islands do work. And when they work, there is a tremendous amount of psychological baggage accumulated from many of the calls they respond to.”

The course, which is taking place in Hudson, Florida, will cover training in critical incident stress, depression, grief and loss, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidology, and worker burnout.

“This training is important to me because I have seen at work, with friends and family, and in my personal life the results of when the spiritual and social aspects of life (are) neglected,” he said.

He added he hopes the training “will provide me with the skills and knowledge to implement an effective stress management programme within (the) department.

“With an understanding that it is not merely about me being the chaplain, I hope to develop a peer support team that will be able to initiate basic counselling in-house which will act as an open door to the mental health experts if needed”.

Tags: ,

Category: Fire Service

Comments are closed.