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Doorly McLaughlin, CPM

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Doorly McLaughlin, CPM

Doorly McLaughlin, Colonial Police & Fire Service Medal

That Doorly McLaughlin's award for long and distinguished service comes as he celebrates his 50th birthday, is indicative of his life-long ethos of service to country.

The Deputy Chief Fire Officer is the first local recipient of the Colonial Police and Fire Service Medal (CPM) for dedication to the Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS). He has previously received three Colonial long-service awards for service in his field.

Summarising his career, Mr. McLaughlin says he tried to join the service after graduating high school in 1976, but only 16 at that time he had to wait two more years before enrolling as the youngest officer.

Back then there was no domestic fire service and the small station only supported air travel. However, with the development of the full CIFS just two years later and a new and modern station, things rapidly changed.

Having excelled during training, Mr. McLaughlin was selected for advanced overseas courses, after which he was promoted to sub-officer and, in 1984, placed in charge of the new Frank Sound Fire Station.

Advanced fire training followed in areas such as inspection and investigation and the young fire fighter was appointed Station Officer in Charge of Fire Prevention. It was in that role that he discovered his specialty-and encountered his biggest challenges.

For instance in 1994, he and the management team headed the introduction of a national building code, followed three years later by the adoption of Cayman's first fire-prevention code.

Today, his job description requires that he review all plans and conduct inspections for all new commercial buildings. He also makes annual inspections of tourist accommodations and liquor-licensed premises.

His work also entails investigating fires and any resultant loss of life and property. And in that regard, his forensic expertise is still sought in a number of criminal and civil cases.

Over the years, Mr. McLaughlin consistently managed to balance fieldwork and professional development and his promotions continued. Two years ago, his positive attitude and ongoing education in emergency management led to his appointment as Deputy Chief Fire Officer.

He believes in motivating his officers to achieve success and he credits the team approach with honing the skills that are vital for maintaining the fleet of modern equipment.

Discarding misconceptions of domino games and leisure time in the firehouses, he says the rigorous routine of inspecting and testing all equipment twice daily demands more than half of their time. The remainder is spent in training: drills, lectures, project planning, and site visits.

And while maintaining the Fire Service's mantra of encouraging and supporting young Caymanian men in this career, McLaughlin nevertheless cautions that the work is not for the fainthearted or those unwilling to sacrifice personal time, including weekends and holidays.

The dedication to public service displayed by Doorly McLaughlin, and his wife Laura, has made them role models to their family and community. And as if that is not sufficient, his dedication to animal husbandry has turned him into a 'hobby farmer,' continuing his family's agricultural tradition.

For further information contact: Wosila Rochester