New equipment boosts fire services

Fire-fighting capabilities throughout the country have been improved with the recent purchase of custom-built trucks for the Cayman Islands Fire Service.

The state-of-the-art vehicles include two 100-foot ladder trucks; five tanker-pumpers; one multi-purpose command and rescue truck for domestic fire-fighting; and five aircraft rescue and fire-fighting trucks for the Islands’ airports, said a GIS press release.

Aerodrome vehicles

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dennom Bodden accepts delivery of the Aerodrome vehicles from George McCarthy and Mr. Dale Dacres. Photos: Submitted

These vehicles replace trucks that were damaged during Hurricane Ivan, as well as older trucks that needed replacing, said Acting Chief Fire Officer Roy Grant.

The domestic vehicles – complete with the Cayman Islands flag painted on each cab – and the airport vehicles were recently handed over to Grant by Chief Secretary George McCarthy and Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services Director Dale Dacres. DVES assisted Fire Services with the vehicles’ importation, the release said.

One of the Aerodrome trucks was sent to Cayman Brac, and negotiations are ongoing to purchase a domestic truck for the Brac as well, Mr. Grant said.

The new domestic tanker-pumpers include air-conditioned cabs that can carry a crew of eight men; breathing apparatus seats and storage space for protective clothing. The older trucks did not have air conditioning, could only carry a maximum of three fire-fighters and provided cumbersome storage for protective gear, the release said.

This is the first time that Cayman’s domestic-fire vehicles have built-in foam capacity, with 100 gallons of class A foam, Mr. Grant noted. In addition, these trucks carry 2,500 gallons of water and 250 gallons of class B foam for fuel fires.

The airport vehicles are equipped with 3,000 gallons of water, 420 gallons of foam, and either 500 gallons of dry powder or 460 lbs of Halotron, a gas used for aircraft fire-fighting.

The vehicles, which cost CI$7million, were ordered from Oshkosh Truck Co. in Wisconsin, a US fire-equipment manufacturer.

Fire Services staff and officials made several visits to the factory to negotiate, discuss designs and specifications, and inspect the vehicles during the manufacturing stages.