EOC staying put for now

Cayman’s Emergency Operation Centre, where disaster management people assemble in times of emergency, will remain at the Airport Fire Station for the time being.

Construction of a new hurricane resistant EOC was planned on land on Agnes Way. However, declines in government revenues shelved both projects.

Speaking recently at a national hurricane exercise, Deputy Director Operations Donald Druitt said the ‘hardened’ EOC facility wouldn’t be available anytime in the near future, but that Hazard Management Cayman Islands still hope it would get built.

Before the plan for the new EOC, government had considered building an extension at its current location.

‘In hindsight, I wish we would have done this extension,’ Mr. Druitt said. ‘This could still happen.’

Mr. Druitt said it would only take $5,000 to $6,000 to make the current EOC better.

The idea of either option is provide a space that facilitates group analysis of an emergency situation in a stress-free environment, Mr. Druitt said, adding that the facility should also promote interagency cooperation.

When contacted about the EOC situation, Deputy Chief Secretary Donovan Ebanks acknowledged that construction of the new facility had been delayed.

‘We weren’t able to do it in this financial year and I’m not optimistic about it happening in the 09/10 financial year,’ he said.

However, Mr. Ebanks said he remained optimistic the new EOC facility would get built eventually, and he discounted the possibility of building an extension at the current location.

‘You can’t do anything like that here for $5,000 or $6,000,’ he said, adding that the various members of Hazard Management and disaster management committee would just have to make do until the new facility could be built.

‘We’ll survive,’ he said. ‘It might not be the most comfortable, but we survived before and we’ll survive again, if that’s they way things have to be.’

Mr. Ebanks explained that the new EOC building is supposed to house several other government agencies beside Hazard Management Cayman Islands. He mentioned the National Weather Service, the 911 Emergency Services Centre and the Office of Communications as other possible permanent tenants.