The closure of borders to international passengers has presented the Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS) with the opportunity to further support emergency service colleagues.
CIFS firefighters have been redeployed following a reduced demand for dedicated on-duty aviation cover at the Owen Roberts International Airport. As Chief Fire Officer, Paul Walker QFSM explains, “Working with colleagues from the Cayman Islands Airport Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority, we have been able to adapt our aviation crewing arrangements while maintaining appropriate fire and rescue cover for the reduced number of flights and aircraft types. Creating this capacity has enabled us to put in place arrangements to provide support to other services should the community spread of coronavirus escalate.”
Greater crewing flexibility have allowed CIFS to redeploy certain officers to areas in greater demand, or to reinforce other emergency services agencies should staffing levels be impacted.
Staff from the aviation control room are undertaking 911 call centre familiarisation to ensure this essential service is adequately maintained.
Four CIFS staff are working with the Health Services Authority to join Emergency Medical Service Ambulance shifts if required to bolster support.
A firefighter with prior maritime search and rescue experience has also been redeployed to the Cayman Islands Coastguard to support increased workloads monitoring maritime related hard and soft curfew restrictions.
Chief Walker said, “Colleagues from CIFS have been flexible and supportive, understanding the concept and need for cross service business continuity. Here in the Cayman Islands, we have strong and trusted relationships with our partners from across the emergency services. It is a genuine team approach with a shared focus to maintain our 911 critical services to protect and help residents across the Cayman Islands.”
He went on to say, “I would like to encourage all residents to maintain social distancing, adopt good personal hygiene and abide by the soft and hard curfew restrictions. This is the only sure way to protect our elderly and vulnerable, our families, friends and colleagues as well as ourselves from the community spread of this deadly virus. We are working for you. Stay home for us.”