Report proposes new BT fire station

Calls for a new fire station somewhere in the Bodden Town area are being heard again nearly a decade after a similar idea was proposed and then shelved due to lack of government funding.

The consultant’s report completed on the Cayman Islands Fire Service last year was largely critical of department calls for additional staff and resources, but it did suggest that a significant section of Grand Cayman was being left short of fire and emergency medical coverage under the current fire service operation scheme.

“The review team supports the development of a new fire station in the Bodden Town area to provide improved community service to the south and east of Grand Cayman,” Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser for England, Peter Holland, wrote in his report for the Cayman Islands Ministry of Home Affairs.

According to estimates recently completed by the government Economics and Statistics Office, Bodden Town has significantly outpaced West Bay to become the Cayman Islands’ second–largest district by population. Also, Elections Office and Electoral Boundary Commission reviews have noted the three fastest-growing areas of Grand Cayman in terms of voters are Prospect, Newlands and Savannah. Two of those areas are in Bodden Town district.

Now, the fire service maintains three stations, one in West Bay, one in Frank Sound and its headquarters at the Owen Roberts International Airport in George Town. The airport fire station provides domestic [land-based] and aerodrome [airport] fire services.

Situations have arisen in the past, particularly in the area of emergency medical responses, when emergency crews in George Town and West Bay have been called away, leaving the remote Frank Sound station to cover any additional emergencies that might arise.

The problem with the new fire station proposal, and the one made by the former People’s Progressive Movement government in 2007, is money.

In 2007, the Bodden Town Emergency Centre was designed and even had some landscaping work done prior to the 2009 general election and the then-United Democratic Party government dropping the idea. The $15 million plan for a combined police, fire and medical response facility also included, at one time, a landing pad for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Helicopter and a firearms practice range for law enforcement officers.

The new fire station suggested in the report contained no such grandiose ideas, and in fact, recommended the new station with no proposed funding increase to the fire service.

“[The money for construction] could be provided by savings generated by the introduction of alternative duty systems at other stations and alternative appliance types [referring to fire trucks] for the domestic [fire] service going forward,” Mr. Holland said. “Any new fire station development would not need to be staffed using a ‘whole time’ duty system.”

Overstaffing in the fire service was a major issue identified by a U.K. review team who visited Cayman in late 2013. The number of calls received for fire emergencies in the Cayman Islands “do not support the current crewing model of 24/7 staffing on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac,” the consultant review found.

Statistics produced by the 911 Emergency Communications Centre have revealed that the fire service, on average, was responding to fewer than three calls per day during the 2012/13 budget year.

Mr. Holland described a fire service that was “top-heavy with senior officers,” while, in the meantime, local ambulance crews – of which there are three to cover all of Grand Cayman – were responding to nearly 10 calls for service per day.

The report recommended the introduction of “alternative duty systems” for firefighting staff, potentially to include on-call services and perhaps a volunteer element to the fire service. It also advocated for fire service crews to support emergency medical care in the islands.

In addition, the report recommended downsizing some of the heavy trucks used by the fire service. For instance, the large ladder trucks used by the fire service – while undoubtedly top of line, Mr. Holland said – are often too large to quickly navigate the narrow side streets in some Grand Cayman neighborhoods. Also, there are relatively few locations where local structures reach three stories, the report noted – mainly just in central George Town and along Seven Mile Beach.


  1. A person only need to utter the alphabet "P" to see clearly what is happening on this island. The truth is that very few cares whether something is necessary in a district, it is all about who I can personally help in order to gain a vote. Watch and listen to most of them it is nothing about Town or country. Last election my concern was about only one politician running in my district and that was Wayne Panton, and that was because I did not know anything about his political aspirations, and I would go as far to say, don’t judge a book by its covers.
    NOW LET US TALK ABOUT BODDEN TOWN; and of course I will be doing this as long as I live in this district. Briefly let me comment on the proposal of a fire station. BODDEN TOWN DOES NOT NEED A FIRE STATION, WHAT BODDEN TOWN NEEDS IS AN AMBULANCE STATION AT THE BODDEN TOWN HEALTH CLINIC. Do people realize how man people have died in the past 10 years between the districts of North Side East End and Bodden Town, just because we have to wait for an ambulance to come from George Town to Bodden Town or Eastern districts?. IT’S CRAZY. No one cares, besides you will hear some politician saying, "Oh I am trying but I am not getting anywhere, that is all Bull talk.
    Every thing that is suggested, laid out on the table, promised, encouraged or implied, is bypassed from this district by the politicians no matter what party they belong to. After Hurricane Ivan moneys was put in place to assist people with the completion of repairing their homes. It was taken away by the new government to use on other whims and wishes.
    One government built a Helicopter launch pad down in Look Out Garden. WHY? JUST A WASTE OF MONEY. Do you know why in the first place this was proposed and was there any good intentions of completing? Who was the land purchased from? Did you see the project completed? Did anyone question why? NO. Ever wondered why not?. Was it just to buy the land and pretend that a project would be completed? A Half ass project to full another rich man’s pocket and which would compliment the FLOODING of Cumber Avenue? Many years ago when a person took sick in the districts East End or North Side, they could be brought to the Bodden Town Health clinic day or anytime of the night. NURSE SALESMAN who did everything except operate on you, lived up stairs and was always on call. People lives were saved. Then it was closed by one government WHY? The building knocked down by another government….We have NO PROMISED INSPECTION AND LICENCE DEPARTMENT OF ANY KIND. Why not? We have a state of art Post Office large enough to house two or three offices, with only one person working there. An unused Library with bathrooms big enough for hotel lobby. The women of the district cannot get the opportunity of seeing a gynecologist without having to get on a waiting list for at least three months in George Town. We have none of the medical specialist from George Town visiting at least once a month to the district. We do not have a decent place for a Heritage day activity, accept somewhere down in the swamps mosquito infested bushy area. Areas like Cumber and Belford still flooding after ten years. Some pit houses looking cribs on the public beach, with promises to be rebuilt or KNOCKED DOWN. all of these have to do’s and not getting done projects, and we are still voting for FOUR people, or putting back in the same old, same old noncoms that has done absolutely nothing for this district, and we are going to accept a fire station which is less needed. People get a grip and think about the more important things we need. How many times you have seen the fire truck come to Bodden Town in Ten years to a fire? I cannot remember two times. We need an on-call ambulance service and all the other things I have mentioned. However if the Bodden Town population thinks we need a fire station more, then who am I to say no.

  2. Twyla,in civilized countries firefighters are trained and certified medical first responders (MFR). So, in theory, they would take a role of an ambulance and provide medical assistance.

    Otherwise, you made really good points about many things.

  3. Your Point well taken Ms Bell, however what I am looking at is the question of which of the two you know is more needed? Yes I am aware of firefighters being trained and certified in their capacity, but have not seen any of them set up and equipped the sensitive life saving equipment and certified medical team like and ambulance. If that was the case that a fire truck is capable to carrying out the same duties as well trained ambulatory care then why do we call an ambulance to an accident or a gunshot wounding, or a machete attack or a stroke, heart attack etc. all the time and not just call a fire truck?
    I live in the eastern district, and almost every day I hear the ambulance going up east not the fire truck. So No, I DO NOT support the theory that a fire truck can take on the role of ambulatory care. However if there is a brain storm from any want to be politician to empress the people with a fire station for political votes, so be it. Because it will not be the first time that broom sticks have been dressed up and people voted for them up here.

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