Stamp issue honours emergency services

| 31/08/2012

Layout-2-Helicopter-branch-[1] (300x200).jpg(CIPS): The Cayman Islands Postal Service is honouring Emergency Services personnel with five commemorative stamps. The stamps, issued on 30 August, depict the various ways in which these first responder units provide safety and security to the community and are issued in denominations of 20¢ (RCIPS Marine Unit); 25¢ (Ambulance Service); 75¢ (Fire Service); $1.50 (911) and $2 (Helicopter). The five stamps show the many roles that the first responders play in emergency situations.

Fire-Department-[1] (300x208)_0.jpgAdditionally, to broaden the stamps’ appeal, the Stamp Advisory Committee (SAC) decided to include children and underscore the need for them to learn about emergency responses, including the 9-1-1 number in the event they need to use it, said Postmaster General Sheena Glasgow.

The 20¢ Marine Unit Boat stamp shows a water rescue, while the 25¢ depicts EMS technicians performing a routine health check on a young lady at a community event. On the 75¢ stamp firefighter demonstrates how to put out a fire at a community event. A young girl makes a call to 9-1-1 on the $1.50 and on the $2 stamp, a group of youngsters point to the EC135 police helicopter during a routine patrol.

Layout-4-911-Communications[1] (300x200).jpgDeputy Premier and Minister responsible for Postal Service Juliana O’Connor-Connolly thanked SAC and Postmaster General for their hard work and for paying tribute to first responders.

“Emergency Services are at the cornerstone of our society and these brave men and women often put their lives on the line for us daily.  Let’s face it, this is not just a job to them, this is a calling and for that we thank them,” she added.

In 1907 a law was passed authorising the establishment of a police force. The force was initially commanded by an English Inspector and four local constables, who also acted in the capacity of postal and customsofficials. 

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Responsibilities, aside from investigating crime, included looking after short-term prisoners in a ‘lock-up’, as there was no prison. Other responsibilities included hoisting the Cayman Islands flag on government buildings whilst the reveille was blown on the bugle. The practice of hoisting the flag has only ceased to be the responsibility of the police in recent years.

In 1928, the police force was increased by a further two constables. Constables were given basic training such as foot drill and officers worked seven days a week, 365 days a year from 6:00am to 10:00pm. However, by 1978 a five-day work week was adopted and today the RCIPS employs over 400 officers and support staff representing over 100 nationalities.

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In recent times the word "Royal" was added to Cayman Islands Police Force and the name was later changed to Service.

The Marine Unit has been operational since 1981 and was re-established in February 2006 for the purposes of border patrol, drug interdiction and search and rescue.  The unit now consists of 19 officers, six large vessels, five wave runners and an aluminum boat.

The EC135 police helicopter is equipped with stabilised thermal and daylight camera, night-sun searchlight and a PA system. Since 2010 the newly formed helicopter unit has been used for police and emergency response, border security and search and rescue.

In 1975 the Cayman Islands Ambulance and Porter Service emerged with three employees and the islands' first Ford model ambulance. In the early 1980s the service produced its first set of emergency medical technicians through local training and development, providing accessible pre-hospital emergency care to residents.

Today, the Emergency Medical Service provides one of the few 24-hour advance life support services in the Caribbean. The EMS provides treatment and response to a combination of medical and traumatic emergencies, including childbirth and delivery, dive accidents, cardiac and respiratory emergencies, stroke, pediatrics, inter-island transfers, rescue and disaster/mass casualty management.

The Fire Department of the Cayman Islands was established in 1956 as an Airport Fire Service. In 1979 the Domestic Fire Service was formed and joined with the Airport Fire Service to form the Cayman Island Fire Service, which began in 1980 with one Fire Chief. The Cayman Island Fire Service primarily provides fire fighting and rescue service to the three islands. There are three stations in Grand Cayman, located in West Bay, George Town and North Side. There is one station in Cayman Brac and one in Little Cayman.

911 Public Safety Communications (Cayman Islands) was established in 1996 to answer emergency and non-emergency telephone calls 24 hours per day from the Communications Centre located in downtown George Town. Prior to that, residents called 999 (the police) to process emergency calls.

The stamps will be issued on Thursday and can be collected at any post office. For more information call 946-4757.

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  1. sherill says:


  2. Brent Finster says:

    As the Director of Public Safety Communications and responsible for 9-1-1, I want to thank the Postmaster General and the Deputy Premier for including 9-1-1 Public Safety Communications in this stamp issue.  To my knowledge, this is the first time that our profession has ever been honoured by a postage stamp in the world.

    The role of the Public Safety Telecommunicator is often mis-understood (such as referring to them as a "operator") and rarely recognized as a profession.  The Association of Public-safety Communications Officials International (APCO) and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), both of which our Communications Centre are active members, provide the training materials and industry standards by which we operate.  

    Telecommunicators answer 9-1-1 lines (almost 100,000 calls annually), ask detailed questions in order to determine the appropriate response to dispatch, provide pre-arrival instructions which could include CPR or childbirth instructions, dispatch police, fire and Emergency Medical Services units over the radio, track their location and status, and make notifications to other support personnel or agencies.

    9-1-1 Public Safety Communications personnel are the "firstof the first responders".