Firefighters teamed up with their brothers-in-arms the RCIPS yesterday (1 Aug) as they took their training to sea at the West Bay public beach. Aided in the air by the RCIPS’s newly acquired drone. It’s training Home Affairs Minister Hon. Tara Rivers said came out of tragedy.
“As a result of a review that happened in 2016 where we look at the search and rescue capabilities of the country as a whole and one of the recommendations that came out of that review was to potentially look at how the Fire Service could provide assistance in appropriate circumstances,” said Ms. Rivers.
In 2016 five Caymanians were lost at sea, among them two children, that incident highlighted the gaps in Cayman’s capabilities but Chief Fire Officer David Hails said his troops are now better trained to handle such situations.
“We’ve gone through an intense training package over the last twelve months that involved using qualified personnel from the marine unit and also personnel from the UK the search and rescue capabilities from the UK who came down and carried out training as well. So the intensive training has covered all areas and I’m extremely satisfied that training has been successful,” he said.
Mr. Hails said the RCIPS is a huge help in providing air support.
“We had the police helicopter, so we had the joint support unite in the air who was providing us with live beams on the ground so we can actually watch what was happening in the sky.”
Police air commander Steve Fitzgerald said with the help of the Fire Department water rescue scenarios involving search and rescue will run smoothly.
“Obviously, the aircraft could find people very quickly and then we need to get them out of the water and this is where the Fire Service on their insured resue boat will become advantageous to us,” he said.
The Fire Services and The Royal Cayman Islands Police Services both said they hope they don’t have to save anyone that’s distressed at sea, but if the situation arises they will be well prepared. Both departments said similar exercises testing their staff’s training will be held later this year.