Shelter wardens get needed training

The Hazard Management Cayman Islands Shelter Operations Subcommittee recently held a 12-hour shelter management training session over three evenings, 10-12 June.

The training attracted more than 100 volunteers.

Held in the George Hicks High School’s assembly hall, which is a shelter for the district of George Town, the training was opened by HMCI Deputy Director (Operations) Don Druitt and sessions were conducted by the Shelter Operations Subcommittee members, Mrs Deanna Look Loy, chairperson; Mrs. Lynda Mitchell, disaster services coordinator; and Ms Jen Dixon, deputy chairperson.

Additional trainers were Mr. David Hunter, shelter manager; Mr. Lee Madison, HMCI manager of Information Technology and Communications; Mr. Derrick Johnson; and Mr Craig Price from Public Works Department.

The first day saw discussions on personal preparedness; terminology related to disasters, tropical storms and hurricanes; functions of the Shelter Operations Sub-Committee; types of shelters and shelter managers’ responsibilities.

On the second day, the focus was on explaining various stakeholders’ roles in instances of hurricanes. These included the Red Cross, Department of Environmental Health, the police, and medical personnel. Other topics were responsibilities of district representatives, shelter contents; setting up shelters; shelter activities, records and rules, and caring for children and the elderly in shelters.

Day three saw training on hand-held radios, WebEOC and the operation of the standby generators in the shelters, as well as discussions on typical shelter management scenarios.

This important training also provided an opportunity for current and prospective shelter managers to review the amended Hurricane Shelter Management Training Manual, 2008.

The sessions proved popular with participants, one of whom commented, “the trainers were awesome and deserve so much respect for what they do.’ Others agreed: ‘All training topic items were clearly understandable and we learned a lot of ideas,” said one.

At the end of the training, participants who had attended every day received certificates of achievement in shelter (warden) management, those who attended one or two days received certificates of participation.