The Belford Estates Community Emergency Response group conducted an exercise recently to simulate the direct impact of a Category 5 hurricane.
Group Leader Errington Webster explained, ‘At 8pm the group mobilised and we began conducting a survey of the damage and a head count of the residents in the community. As a result there were a number of residents that were not accounted for. We went door to door in our community and then commenced rescue and recovery operations.’
Mr. Webster added that injured victims were transported by stretcher to a central location where they were prioritized for treatment and transported to the District Emergency Medical Centre.
Hazard Management Cayman Islands Director McCleary Frederick confirmed that the exercise went well and was a good learning experience for those involved.
‘Ideally every community in the Cayman Islands should have a structure in place that will enable them to cope for a few days in the aftermath of a significant impact. It may be several days before Government can reach out and render effective assistance and therefore localized groups like Belford are needed to bridge the gap,’ he said.
Hazard Management Deputy Director Omar Afflick believes the Belford team is making their area a better place to live and raise families. He commented, ‘Community groups can make a difference and we have seen this happen in the Belford Estates area. They are focused on protecting the residents from disaster, but by coming together they are actually transformed into an effective advocate for the community.’
The exercise attracted much interest, especially from other emergency response teams currently forming in different parts of the district of Bodden Town and MLA Dwayne Seymour, as well as Head of the Governor’s Office Steve Moore were on hand to watch the exercise.
Bodden Town District Representative Mario Rankin explained that residents are also looking to drill a number of wells in the Belford Estates area to reduce the threat posed by flooding, which has been a problem for the neighborhood.