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First responders honoured

Minister Rivers & DPSC Director Julian Lewis. Credit: Jamie Hicks
Councillor Austin Harris thanks fire officers

Government leaders continue to support, honour and celebrate the emergency services personnel that responded to the fuel tank fire incident on July 23.

Appreciation ceremonies were held at the Cayman Islands Fire Service headquarters on July 28 and at the Department of Public Safety Communications on Aug. 2 to thank the fire officers and dispatchers for their sacrifice and service.

Deputy Governor and Head of the Civil Service, Franz Manderson; Minister for Home Affairs, Tara Rivers; as well as Councillors Austin Harris, David Wight and Barbara Conolly all attended the ceremony.

Dispatchers Chelsea Blake and Apollinia Lavia

“I want to thank our first responders for their bravery and resilience,” Mr. Manderson said. “They are a group of dedicated men and women who put their lives in harm’s way on a daily basis, in order to keep us safe.”

On the night of the incident more than 40 fire officers responded to the scene and six dispatchers gathered at DPSC. Among those first responders were many who were not on shift or on call that night.

During the ceremonies, each officer and dispatcher received a certificate thanking them for their invaluable efforts.

Station officer Richard McLaughlin

“The Cayman Islands should be proud of the efforts of all of our emergency services teams,” Minister Rivers notes. “Each performed in a highly commendable manner that is worthy of the recognition that they are receiving. As dispatchers alerted all emergency services personnel to the situation and answered distress calls from the public, fire officers fought tirelessly to get the fire under control, and our police officers worked to evacuate residents and divert vehicles approaching the danger.”

She added: “We are extremely proud of all efforts made that night, and it brings me great honour to recognise their bravery today, and every day.”

The DPSC dispatchers recognized were Jason Weeks, Apollinia Lavia, Tiffani Barbour, Chelsea Blake, Victoria Parker and Margaret Dixon.

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