October 1, 2022

Tablets help in Hurricane Dry-Run in Cayman Islands

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a Shuttering 54 a Shuttering 120 a Shuttering 126 a Shuttering 129For the first time today (Wednesday, 4 May 2016) government inspectors deployed a mobile emergency communications platform to monitor annual hurricane preparations.

            Using tablet computers, managers provided each other and specialist staff with live-update, as the 2016 shuttering exercise progressed across Grand Cayman.

            Operations were led by the Public Works Department (PWD) and the National Roads Authority (NRA), who are responsible for preparing public buildings for a threat of a major storm or hurricane.

            This was also the first year that the data was shared simultaneously on the Web-EOC, the online platform accessible to senior officials at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC). Web-EOC was also displayed on a live monitor at PWD’s “Base Station” for the duration of the exercise.

            Over 200 workers were involved in the preparations. They inspected and shuttered buildings, including 16 hurricane shelters, seven primary schools, post offices and major Government centres – some of which also double as hurricane shelters.

            “The drills began after 6am, and the work encompassed about 100 facilities,” said PWD’s Senior Manager, Building Maintenance, Robert Johnson. He and Executive Architect Sean Evans coordinated the exercise.

            Mr. Evans added that the plan calls for the eventual use of cellphones to communicate data on facilities.

            Each team of workers were led today by a lead inspector, and included specialist mechanical, electrical and plumbing inspectors. Afterwards, their work was scrutinised and verified by final Preparedness Inspectors.

           a Shuttering 132 a Shuttering 04 a Shuttering 18 a Shuttering 137 Items on their staff checklists ranged from closing shutters and examining cisterns, w ells and water pumps, to verifying that emergency lights and fire extinguishers were operational.

            While drains and deep-wells were checked today, in an actual event the workers would also clear the wells in anticipation of flooding. In addition public areas like beach and park facilities would be secured.

            The officials also coordinated shuttering with statutory bodies, such as the Health Service Authority (HSA). “Their teams coordinated checks of district health facilities, while our workers secured the George Town Hospital,” said HSA Facilities Manager Chris McNamee.

            Mr. McNamee noted, “We paired our annual plans with the national exercise, and PWD sent inspectors in after to confirm our readiness.”

            Any deficiencies in the island-wide review have been noted, and outstanding issues will be resolved during the final debrief meeting next week.

            This is the 29th year that a pre-storm season dry-run has been conducted on Grand Cayman.  In the Sister Islands, the District Administration’s Annual Hurricane (Shuttering) Exercise will be held Friday, 6 May.

            The 2016 hurricane season begins on 1 June.

            For hurricane-preparation information, please contact the Public Works Department at 949-2547. To learn more about national hurricane preparations, visit the Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) “Cayman Prepared” website at www.caymanprepared.gov.ky<http://www.caymanprepared.gov.ky> – or call 945-4624.

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