MORE THAN A NAME FOR MAUI FIRE TRUCK: KAIMILOA IS BLESSED
The Maui Department of Fire and Public Safety held a blessing today for the department’s Heavy Rescue Truck that will be used in rescue and recovery efforts island-wide. The truck will go on line in the first week of August, providing rescue crews with the ability to transport equipment and supplies aboard a single response vehicle.
“Now everything is in one place and moving to the scene as a single unit,” said Assistant Chief Alan Cordeiro who worked with others in the department to research and review the vehicle for order. “The truck will provide greater response with equipment that, in the past, was left behind at the station, or carried in a trailer,” said Cordeiro.
“The goal of this truck was to build it for the future,” said Maui Fire Chief Jeffrey Murray who estimated the life expectancy for the vehicle’s online career to range from 15 to 20 years.
The truck’s name, Ka’imiloa, is literally translated as to seek or find, but also to search within oneself. Firefighter III Kyle Farm who assisted in the name search said, “The approach that we tried to take was not actually choosing a name, but having the name reveal itself.”
While researching the history of the department, Farm found an article in the August 31, 1907 edition of The Maui News that recounted the dedication of a Bell for the Maui Fire Department more than a century ago. The large bell came from the monarchy’s first man-of-war ship, the Kaimiloa. A second, smaller bell, was used on the hose cart to warn people on the street of the presence of the vehicle.
“I couldn’t see a more appropriate name,” said Farm. “Being a warship, it was used as a defense of Hawaii, in the same way the fire department is a defense for Maui County,” Farm said.
Farm says the bell was dedicated to the Wailuku Station (which then stood on space now occupied by the County Courthouse) and the bell is still in existence today at a residence on Kalua Road in Wailuku.
“Our rescue firefighters are tasked with the toughest duties in the fire service that we have,” said Farm. When the department’s engine and ladder companies become overwhelmed, the rescue team is called in to assist. “Rescue doesn’t have anybody else to turn to and have to deal with whatever trial or tribulations that may come their way,” said Farm.
The blessing was conducted by Maui Firefighter and Ladder Captain Amos Lonokailua-Hewett.
“As firemen, we spend almost a third of our lives together-25 plus years. So I like to believe that members of the Maui County Fire Department are one big family,” said Lonokailua-Hewett.
“Sometimes, as we all know, things don’t go well with a family, but in Hawaiian culture there is a saying that offers a solution: Ike aku ike mai, kokua aku kokua mai. That means: recognize, and be recognized, help and be helped. For a family to thrive and move forward, there needs to be an exchange of recognition and help,” said Lonokailua-Hewett.
In blessing the vehicle, the department recognized those who contributed to the acquisition of the new Heavy Rescue Truck, and acknowledged the task rescue firefighters will be faced with in helping the community.
(Story, photos and video by Wendy Osher ©2009) *** If you enjoyed this post, you may also like our story on Historic Firsts Marked for Maui Fire and Police.