Cayman’s National Hurricane Plan’s focus this year is on the establishment of Community Emergency Response teams.
McCleary Frederick, director of Hazard Management Cayman Islands, explains that such teams are the first responders when their area is cut off from the rest of the Island. They have already been formed in Belford Estates, North Side, Pease Bay and Prospect.
Hazard Management and the Red Cross are partners in this initiative.
The Cayman Islands has had an Official Hurricane Plan, complete with reference manual and meetings of personnel involved, since at least the early 1970s. Regular revision has kept the plan current and lessons learned from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 have changed some of the organisational structure.
Hazard Management Cayman Islands is the government agency now responsible for coordination of all programmes dealing with national disasters, whether natural or man-made. For implementing our National Hurricane Plan, the transition from National Hurricane Committee to National Hazard Management Council took place in January 2007.
Mr. Frederick has been with the agency since its start and took over as director in August, 2009.
He says the change in the organisational structure is not as big as some people think it is. “Most of the groups were already in place,” he points out.
Instead of National Hurricane Committee, the sub-committees are now under the National Hazard Management Council. Responsibilities are divided into clusters of similar functions designed to make communication easier.
The chain of command for disaster management puts the Governor at the head. Working with him is the National Hazard Management Executive, which includes the premier, the leader of the opposition, the deputy governor, financial secretary, attorney general and police commissioner. This Executive Group will be stationed at Citrus Grove during a hurricane.
At the National Emergency Operations Centre – the Airport Fire Station — will be the Policy Group, which is drawn from the National Hazard Management Council and the Operations Group.
Mr. Frederick, as Hazard Management Cayman Islands director, has overall responsibility for the National Emergency Operations Centre and is part of the Policy Group that makes recommendations to the National Hazard Management Executive as situations may arise.
The Manager of the National Emergency Operations Centre is Omar Afflick, Hazard Management Deputy director for Preparedness. Depending on how long the emergency lasts, this position may be shared by Lee Madison, Hazard Management acting deputy director of Operations, and a senior officer from the Fire Department.
The Operations Officers working with the National Emergency Operations Centre Manager on the first shift include National Weather Service Representative Fred Sambula; Government Information Services Officer Susan Watler; Operations Officer Capt. Ricardo Henry; Cadet Corps Sgt. Michael Reid and call takers, who are largely recruited from the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps.
Including the Cadet Corps as call takers at this level is the result of emphasis on improving communications and ensuring 24-hour capability at the NEOC.
The various sub-committees are now organised in four clusters, each with a manager.
Deputy Auditor General Garnet Harrison is manager.
This cluster covers:
Joint Communication Services
Continuity of Operations
Essential Relief Services/ International Aid Management.
The manager is Roydell Carter, who heads the Department of Environmental Health. This cluster covers:
Economic Impact Assessment
Iitial Clearance and Debris Management
Utilities & Communications.
The manager is Jen Dixon from the Department of Children and Family Services. This cluster covers:
Medical Relief Services
Mass Fatalities Management
Voluntary Agencies Disaster Committee.
The manager is Superintendent Adrian Seales of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. This cluster covers:
Evacuation District Emergency Response Search and Rescue
Security & Law Enforcement.
The cluster managers will be part of the team at the National Emergency Operations Centre. Most chairpersons of the sub-committees will be based at the National Emergency Operations Centre, but may be at various locations, depending on the required level of response or National Emergency Operations Centre Activation Level.