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Merger to help in event of disaster

(L-R) Omar Afflick (Deputy Director for the HMCI) , Franz Manderson (Deputy Chief Secretary), Eric Bush (Acting Chief Officer of the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs), Jondo Obi (Director of Red Cross), McCleary Fredrick (Director of HMCI), Andrew McLaughlin (Red Cross Chairman)

An historic merger between two bodies to improve safety in the event of a major disaster has taken place.

The Red Cross has teamed with the Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) to introduce emergency response teams.

In the event of repeat of 2004 Hurricane Ivan, people of Cayman will feel safer because of the new partnership.

In 2006 The Red Cross (Cayman Islands) launched a Disaster Preparedness Program to teach people how to deal with disasters.

The program was then called CDRT, Community Disaster Response Team.

Now that has been scrapped and a new service, called Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) will replace it.

The two emergency partners will be able to share resources and provide a safer post-disaster environment for the people of Cayman.

The Red Cross director, Mrs. Jondo Obi, expressed delight at the merger and explained the added benefits for the communities.

She added that under the CERT Program teams will be formed from four Communities consisting of between ten to twenty persons.

The members of each team will be taught essential Disaster Preparedness and management skills and given basic tools, which are expected to be utilized in during an emergency.

The Communities, which have been selected for the implementation of the program, are: George Town, West Bay, East end and Bodden Town.

The Director explained the different steps of the CERT program and little about how it operates.

She said: “We choose a group of people in each District and form teams which could consist of between ten to twenty people who are willing and capable in first aid and other capacity and will be able to apply the training in the event of an emergency.”

She also explained that assistance through the former program included the provision of first aid kits and electricity generators to some of the groups that were under the program.

The Director explained that the knowledge and cohesiveness of the groups was not always confined to the disaster management, but acted as a medium for other social or community projects.

Millicent Webster, the Bodden Town representative, in applauding the merger, suggested that her community was a direct beneficiary of the former Red Cross program and has even extended the cooperation of their community group to include a beautification project in Bodden Town.


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