The newest and most modern aerodrome fire truck in the Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS) fleet as officially unveiled on Thursday, 4 May 2017, during a vehicle handover ceremony.
Government leaders, airport officials and Fire Service personnel gathered at the Cayman Brac Fire Station to celebrate the new truck’s arrival.
The Panther 6×6, made by United States manufacturer Rosenbauer Minnesota, LLC, will be based at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport fire station on Cayman Brac.
Deputy Premier and Minister for District Administration, Tourism and Transport, Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, gave the opening remarks during the ceremony.
“This new fire engine is another investment into public safety for the people of this Island, and the people who visit this Island,” the Deputy Premier explained. “This government continues to invest and ensure the best possible air transport safety and the highest standards of overall operational safety for the Cayman Brac Airport.”
Acting Chief Officer for the Ministry of Home Affairs, Michael Nixon, also spoke during the vehicle handover ceremony.
“On behalf of the Ministry, it is my honour to officially handover this new fire engine to the fire officers of Cayman Brac,” Mr. Nixon stated. “The men and women of the Cayman Islands Fire Service put their lives on the line every day, and we are happy to ensure they have the lifesaving equipment they need to do their job.”
Under the contract the CIFS negotiated with the manufacture Rosenbauer, all fire officers who will operate the new Panther 6×6 have received operation and maintenance training at no extra cost.
“We are extremely grateful to have this fire engine now a part of our aerodrome fleet thanks to the Ministry of Home Affairs,” Chief Fire Officer David Hails said. “It’s a fire truck like these Islands have never seen. This new vehicle is designed with state-of-the-art equipment which can efficiently extinguish any aircraft fire, and will improve operation capabilities for the Cayman Brac Airport.”
The Panther 6×6 is also equipped with several advanced features such as a twin-agent fire extinguishing system, the Islands’ first ever on-board thermal imaging camera, a driver’s cab with a panoramic view and full LED lighting.
At the end of the ceremony, the Deputy Premier took a ride in the vehicle, while the audience got to see the new fire truck in action.
Before the deployment of the truck all staff at the Cayman Brac Fire Station were required to complete training on the operation and maintenance of the vehicle by the manufacturer.
Chief Hails signed the contract for the vehicle in February 2017, with a price tag of $599,328 KYD.
Other attendees of the event included: Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Chief Officer for the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism and Transport, Cayman Islands Airport Authority, Cayman Brac Airport Manager, Miguel Martin and Cayman Airways Limited, Cayman Brac Airport Manager, Lucille Walton.
The new truck replaces a 10-year old vehicle damaged in an accident on Cayman Brac earlier this year. The Ministry of Home Affairs has since received reports from a local accident analyst, as well as the manufacturer. These documents are now available on the Ministry of Home Affairs and CIFS websites (www.mha.gov.ky and www.cifs.gov.ky). It has also worked with OshKosh to review the Fire Service fleet and make recommendations for an ongoing strategy of review and replacement.