Capt. Josh Gibson has learned to expect the unexpected. Adjusting his baseball cap and running a hand through his short, dark brown beard, he remembers a day in 2020 when the six officers manning the Bald Head Island Public Safety Department couldn't seem to catch a break.
A large structure fire broke out in the Keepers Landing area of the island. The officers on duty responded and held off the fire alone while waiting for mutual aid to respond to the island — a 20-minute ferry ride from Southport.
When aid arrived, two of the officers suffered extreme fatigue and heat exhaustion. One had to be airlifted to the mainland for medical treatment.
Once the fire was under control, a fire alarm call came in that had to be checked out. Exhausted, the officers responded. Then came the medical call: A man suffered severe head trauma after falling off a bike. As that patient was being airlifted off the island, a death notification call came in.