Norita faces Senate hearing, bares priorities


Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services acting commissioner Clyde K. Norita is planning to establish a training academy for future firefighters in the CNMI.

The proposed academy is just one of the priorities that Norita bared yesterday during his nomination hearing at the Senate.

The academy, according to Norita, will be funded by the department. To keep costs down, he plans to establish the academy on Tinian and Rota instead of inviting potential students to go to Saipan.

Instructors from the department will fly to Tinian and Rota, perhaps on a weekly basis to conduct the training.


The department needs more firefighters, particularly on Rota, Norita said.

He described the need for more firefighters on Rota as “critical” considering that there are only five firefighters working on 24-hour shifts.

According to Norita, there is only one firefighter at night and this person also has to drive an ambulance. In emergency cases, the firefighter has to call a policeman to drive the ambulance while he attends to the victim, Norita said.

Norita said the Fire Department currently has an agreement with the Department of Public Safety.

Other plans

Norita said his department will initiate more coordination with the CNMI’s existing and future investors.

“We became a department late, and the developments are already in play,” Norita said, adding that the department now is “trying to figure out how we can work with those developments that are in progress.”

He stressed that for future developments, the Fire Department will have big say as far as building designs and regulations are concerned, according to the language of the Fire Code of the CNMI.

Norita says the department can then use this as a “leverage” to convince investors to start investing on their own fire trucks, ladder trucks, and ambulances.

“But I don’t intend to burden one investor,” Norita said, adding that he will recommend the investors to “spread out” the investments among investors.

He added that one of the investors that the Department of Fire is working with is Best Sunshine International, Ltd., specifically the temporary casino at the T Galleria in Garapan.

“They [Best Sunshine] are very cooperative and they call us to review the designs of their facility,” Norita said.

Joel D. Pinaroc | Reporter
Joel Pinaroc worked for a number of newspapers in the Philippines before joining the editorial team of Saipan Tribune. His published articles include stories on information technology, travel and lifestyle, and motoring, among others. Contact him at

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