The efficiency of Cayman’s 16 emergency support teams was put to the test today (2 May) at the annual National Hurricane Exercise.
The exercise was held at the national emergency operations centre in the Government Administration building this morning, to ensure everyone is prepared for the upcoming hurricane season.
Cayman’s emergency preparedness was tested Wednesday at the annual national hurricane exercise ahead of hurricane season.
“As we’ve seen recently by our sister territories, the devastation as we know can be tremendous so what we need to do is to continue to ensure we are adequately prepared for whatever eventuality,” said Hon. Tara Rivers, Minister of Home Affairs.
Ms. Rivers said the exercise acts as a stress test and will help to identify areas that need to be strengthened.
“It actually is very important that we do this on an annual basis and given that there are so many agencies that are involved in actually carrying out the work that we require if we were to, unfortunately, be hit by a hurricane of any magnitude,” said Ms. Rivers.
Four groups consisting of individuals from the public and private sector are in charge of Human Concerns, Emergency Response, Support Services and Infrastructure during a disaster.
“In the case of any emergency we really need them to be able to kind of work from auto-pilot, having the plan in place and knowing exactly how the responses should be,” said Ms. Rivers.
Deputy Director of Preparedness and Planning for Hazard Management, Danielle Coleman said testing the response is important.
“And they would all respond in the event of a national disaster, like a hurricane, so we’ve got them all on board today, they’re all activating the various phases, so the alert-watch-warning phase of a hurricane and it’s just basically learning from each other what we’re all doing, how we would obviously operate, how we could coordinate activities together,” said Mrs. Coleman.
Mrs. Coleman said having the exercise with all those involved under one roof helps Hazard Management with their preparation planning.
“The plans are no good unless people know that one they are in the actual plan itself and what that plan actually looks like,” said Mrs. Coleman.
This year’s test hurricane was named Hurricane Kirkland in remembrance of Kirkland Nixon. Director of the National Weather Service, John Tibbetts called Mr. Nixon the father of disaster management because of his dual role of not only being the Fire Chief for many decades, but also heading up the old national hurricane committee.