As well as the Cayman Islands was prepared to weather Hurricane Dean, there is still much to do.
That’s the conclusion of the Hazard Management Committee’s head.
While communication was better in this storm, it still remains an issue during disasters.
While we appreciate Government’s efforts to have a central agency to disseminate information, it frankly isn’t working.
A system that has been successfully used in several Gulf Coast states would put journalists at the scene of the Emergency Operations Centre in a media-dedicated area.
One journalist from each media house would be dedicated to be imbedded at the media centre before, during and after a disaster.
That journalist would feed information coming from the EOC back to the media house while other journalists are doing their jobs out in the field.
The journalists at the EOC would not be running around interfering with emergency personnel, but would merely act as a conduit to help get the best and latest information out to the public.
Our experience during Hurricane Dean was that information was not always received in a timely fashion and sometimes, when it was, it was recalled after it had already been broadcast or posted on websites. It was a frustrating exercise for journalists and editors and probably for the public.
At the end of the day, journalists aren’t trying to be difficult or intrusive; they’re merely trying to do their jobs – get timely information out to the public.
Cayman Free Press and other media houses, we’re sure, would gladly work with Government, Hazard Management and the National Hurricane Committee to come up with a workable communication plan that would ensure the public gets the right information at the right time.
Complaints from the public that international media weren’t involved in the coverage of Hurricane Dean as it pertained to the Cayman Islands just aren’t true.
Many of us worked with various international media agencies to get information out. Too, in this day and age people the world over can click on to various websites, including www.caycompass.com to get updated information during disasters. There is even a link on there for readers to listen to Radio Cayman, the government’s official broadcasting station, which did newsbreaks every half hour during Dean to give updated information.
Now, if only Government would do something about replacing Radio Cayman’s outdated equipment…