By Flynn Bush
If the recent fire at the fuel depot has taught us anything, it is that there is one group of individuals we have overlooked for far too long. When hundreds of people had to be evacuated from their homes that Sunday night and a buffer zone was set up around the incident, there were only first responders venturing inside that area.
The adage is that when the rest of us are running away from a fire, firefighters run toward it. That is exactly what happened that night. The Cayman Islands Fire Service came, sirens blaring and lights flashing, toward the source of the panic and went to work to alleviate it. Heroes, through their actions, make life better for others in their community.
This publication has chosen to highlight those heroes that have been largely overlooked, or have at least not been on the forefront of people’s minds. The firefighters of the C.I.F.S. fit that description perfectly.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I know that there are those among us that appreciate what the Fire Service does on a daily basis. The functions that they carry out such as fire awareness education, fire alarm monitoring, and community outreach are just a few of their ancillary duties. The main duties involve being ready for, and expertly responding to, emergencies. The consistent training exercises that the firefighters participate in, the evaluations that they undergo, the simulated emergency exercises, and the technical and tactical briefings all get them ready for actual emergency calls. Then, when one comes in, they respond admirably and effectively.
The CIFS Chief Fire Officer David Hails said, "So far this year the CIFS has dealt with over 2,900 incidents and standbys where our skills have been put to te
st on numerous occasions. The dedication, determination and bravery of our firefighters whilst saving lives and protecting property makes me feel extremely proud to be a part of such an organization. The CIFS stands alongside all other first responders in providing its customers with an emergency response servicethe community can rely upon when they are called into action."
A firefighter, at the rank of Station Officer, who wished to remain anonymous, had a little to say. "I understand that some people look up to us but, honestly, I feel that we are just doing our job." As he continued, his humble nature shone through even more. "I am proud to be a part of a great group of men and women who serve our country in a meaningful way. I thank God that He gave this ability."
I believe that this recent event, along with all of the other information provided here, proves that we are in safe hands with CIFS. It should all be enough to let everyone rest a little easier at night. I know it is for me. Just think, we have an entire department stocked with capable and dedicated individuals who have only one goal in mind: the safety and wellbeing of our entire population. These firefighters are truly deserving of a little spotlight this week and we are proud to feature them as the latest recipients in our forgotten heroes series. Rock on, CIFS.