Tonga Fire and Emergency Services (TFES) is proud to announce the successful completion of fire-fighter qualification of cohort Recruit Training No. 9. The event was marked by a graduation yesterday (20 December 2017) held at Central Fire Station, Nuku’alofa.
The graduation was attended by TFES CEO: Fire Commissioner Lofia Heimuli, department chaplin: Reverend Viliami Fanaika, special guest Secretary General of Tonga Red Cross Society: Sione Taumoefolau, TFES officers and commissioned staff, while spouses, parents and family of the graduates watched proudly from their seats in the wings.
Recruit Training Program
The recruit training program is a two year fire-fighting course, taught over a 3 term period, and undertaken by recruited applicants before their confirmation as full career members of Tonga Fire and Emergency Services. The extremely intensive program is conducted by the Training & Development Division of TFES, and boasts a series of physical and theory courses. The entire program is set with a purpose to teach recruits the technical aspects of combating fires and other emergencies in order to enable them to discharge their duties as firefighters under the TFES Act 2014. Each course, physical or theory, is designed to challenge recruits, allowing them to discover new limits with each course passed.
The cohort of Recruit Training No. 9 completed their training program in two years and 8 months, due to an additional training course with His Majesty’s Armed Forces.
Cohort of Recruit Training No. 9
Recruit Training No. 9 originally consisted of 14 members, with 10 recruits successfully reaching the end of the program and graduating yesterday. Also presented at the event were First Aid Certificates, awarded by the Secretary General of the Red Cross Society, to each graduate for successfully completing the required First Aid training for first responders. Each certificate is valid for 2 years.
The cohort comprises of 9 males and 1 female member, who each received their Qualifying Certificate, presented to them by FEC Heimuli, and declaring their qualification as a full-fledged firefighter of Tonga Fire and Emergency Services.
Accordingly, we are proud to announce the ascension of the following graduates from the ranks of Recruit Fire Fighter to Fire Fighter:
- 'AHOKAVA, Tevita Falengameesi
- FALEVAI, Sione Hautau
- KAFOA, Saletili ‘Atu
- LAVULAVU, Silivenusi
- ‘OTULAU, Semisi
- PATOLO Viliami Sefo 'Akaulave,
- TAPA, Sosaia
- TUFUI, Siaosi Ve'evalu
- TUPOU, ‘Ana Sekola
- VAINIKOLO, Sione Tuiono
Momento Mori – In Memoriam
The graduation ceremony began with a moment of silence for a fallen Recruit Training No. 9 brother, Recruit Fire Fighter Taione, Oscar Minty Raymond Ning Fung. His absence was sharply felt by Recruit Training No. 9 as they remembered a friend and colleague who stood in spirit, shoulder to shoulder, amongst them in that graduation line.
RFF Taione collapsed during the final stages of the combined training course with His Majesty’s Armed Forces, on 8 April 2016. A cheerful and hardworking recruit, RFF Taione’s loss sent a shockwave through the department. Within TFES, Recruit Training No. 9, whose emotional attachment to Taione was forged in the sweat, blood and tears from shared triumphs and hardships of training, was particularly hit.
Fly high, brother, fly free.
Awards for Merit
Also presented at the graduation ceremony were awards for merit, presented to recruits who displayed outstanding skills in certain areas of the Recruit Training Program. The awards were as follows:
- Discipline, Attitude, and Presentation:PATOLO Viliami Sefo 'Akaulave
- Fitness and Physical Ability:KAFOA, Saletili ‘Atu
- Outdoor (practical) Courses:PATOLO, Viliami Sefo 'Akaulave
- Legal Module:FALEVAI, Sione Hautau
- Fire Practical Skills:PATOLO, Viliami Sefo 'Akaulave
- Indoor (theory) Courses: FALEVAI, Sione Hautau
- Morality & Ethics: TUPOU, ‘Ana Sekola
The placing for the overall results for Recruit Training No. 9 were presented as follows:
- Third place: TUFUI, Siaosi Ve'evalu
- Second place: KAFOA, Saletili ‘Atu
- First place (Baton of Honor): PATOLO, VIliami Sefo 'Akaulave
The graduation ceremony concluded with an impressive practical demonstration from Recruit Training No.9, witnessed and cheered on by their fellow TFES colleagues as well as their family and friends.
The spectators, refreshments in hand, watched from tents hosted on the TFES field as graduates showed off the skills they learned from their 2 plus years of training through the presentation of five practical exercises.
Exercise 1 saw the graduates extracting a victim from a car in a vehicle accident scenario. In Exercise 2, spectators witnessed graduates displaying rescue skills for extractions from elevated heights or depressions. A rope drill was presented as Exercise 3 where the graduates showed off their knot-tying skills. Exercise 4 was a combined drill of a structure fire scenario and allowed the graduates to demonstrate, not only their fire-fighting abilities, but their use of combined skills to construct an emergency onsite shelter for victims as well as a temporary pool (using rope, ladders and tarp) for an additional water source for firefighting purposes.