Cayman to Take Part in Regional Earthquake and Tsunami Exercise
Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) will, once again, be taking part in the annual CARIBE WAVE Earthquake and Tsunami Simulation Exercise on Thursday, 11 March to enhance Cayman’s preparedness for this type of threat.
As part of the 2021 regional exercise, HMCI will be testing the National Emergency Notification System’s (NENS’s) radio interrupt function. A test radio alert will be issued across all local radio stations around 9am.
In addition, approximately 75 volunteers from the community will take part in stress-testing an emergency alert mobile application which is currently in development as part of Phase II of NENS.
HMCI is encouraging residents, local businesses and school students to join the hundreds of people and organisations across the Caribbean in practicing their own earthquake and tsunami plans on the day.
“From the outset, a priority of this Government has been to enhance public safety and to this end, we have invested year-on-year in technological solutions to ensure that our communities can receive early notification of potential hazards and sudden onset events. Two minutes after the official Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre notification was received on 28 January 2020, HMCI used the National Emergency Notification System (NENS) Phase I technology to interrupt all radio stations and alert the public to the earthquake and advise that hazardous tsunami waves were possible for the Cayman Islands. This message included instructions to safeguard the public.”
The Minister concluded:” HMCI and key public and private sector partners have been working tirelessly for more than 12 months to implement Phase II of the NENS, which enables emergency warning messages to be distributed via multiple communication channels including SMS, social media and a mobile application. The testing of the mobile app during Thursday’s CARIBE WAVE exercise brings us one step closer to finalising the implementation of this enhanced public safety communication solution.”
Participation in CARIBE WAVE 2021 is open to the public and anyone interested in taking part can register using the following link (https://www.tsunamizone.org/register/) to receive notifications during the exercise.
“I welcome this exercise as preparation is key to effective disaster response. The 7.7 magnitude earthquake which occurred in January 2020 was a stark reminder to many in our community that earthquakes with the potential for tsunamis are a very real threat for the Cayman Islands. While earthquakes and tsunamis occur infrequently, it makes sense to be aware of the risks and prepare in advance of an actual event. This preparation could make the difference in terms of your safety and the safety of your family members,” commented Governor Martyn Roper.
“We hope to see many of Cayman’s students using the exercise as an opportunity to practice the correct earthquake response with their classmates in a familiar setting. HMCI has worked extensively with the Ministry of Education over the past 12 months to build added resilience into Cayman’s schools by ensuring appropriate earthquake risk assessments are completed. Every school is now required to submit their earthquake plan to HMCI for our input,” said the Director of HMCI, Danielle Coleman.
Members of the community wishing to participate in Thursday’s exercise can practice the “drop, cover and hold” earthquake response procedure by dropping to the floor, covering their head with a table or their hands and holding on to a sturdy structure such as a table leg.
They should then consider how they would respond after the shaking has stopped. Due to the possibility that earthquakes can also trigger tsunamis, community members should be aware that if they feel a ‘long’ or ‘strong’ earthquake, they should “Get to Higher Ground,” which is most important if you are on the coast, or in a low-lying area.
‘Higher ground’ includes the upper floors of concrete buildings that do not have obvious structural damage from the earthquake. Everyone is encouraged to tune into the local radio stations and wait till the ‘Tsunami All Clear’ has been issued.
For a hazard assessment of your organization, individuals can contact HMCI’s Simon Boxall at email@example.com or 916-3766.