New CERT Members Strengthen Cayman’s Resilience
Eighteen volunteers attended the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training earlier this month.
The intensive two-day course took place at the Red Cross building on Huldah Avenue on Saturday, 17 April and Sunday, 18 April.
Hazard Management Cayman Islands’ Preparedness and Planning Officer, Teresita DaSilva explained, “Typically the CERT training focuses on a specific community, but in this instance, we had a number of residents from across Cayman who expressed an interest in the CERT program. These new members will join established CERTs or form the basis of new teams that will be developed in areas that are not currently represented with an established group.”
The Cayman Islands Red Cross (CIRC) works in partnership with Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) to deliver CERT training and maintain the program. They are also assisted by the Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS) which provides the fire safety and search and rescue components.
HMCI Director, Danielle Coleman congratulated the participants for volunteering and helping to make the Cayman Islands more resilient. “We really appreciate the commitment shown by these 18 members of the community. The CERT training is, of course, just the beginning. We now expect these volunteers to actively work to make their own families and communities safer and better prepared for all hazards, as well as support the response and recovery efforts of the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) when required.”
The 18 volunteers still have to complete the required first aid and CPR components before being included in the official national CERT database. The training over the weekend included an overview of the structure of an established CERT team, fire safety and suppression, disaster preparedness, search and rescue operations, stress management and disaster psychology, shelter management, initial damage assessment and vulnerability and capacity assessment.
There are currently six active CERT groups established in the Cayman Islands, including teams in Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, Savannah Meadows, Prospect, North Sound Gardens and West Bay. HMCI and CIRC maintain engagement with the volunteers through annual exercises and ongoing training activities.
The CIRC Disaster Manager, Edward Tinling-Miller said “It’s always great to welcome new members to the CERT programme. We are constantly striving to make Cayman more resilient and being a CERT responder is a fundamental part of that process. The training covers a wide range of topics and is designed to improve the overall knowledge of disaster preparedness and response. We are delighted to welcome the newly qualified members to the Cayman CERT family!”
If you are interested in becoming a CERT volunteer, please contact Ms. DaSilva at Teresita.DaSilva@gov.ky