Cayman Red Cross trains emergency volunteers

Although the 2011 hurricane season ended this week, the Cayman Islands Red Cross continue its efforts to ensure Cayman is prepared for any disaster that may impact our shores.

The organisation began the week of 21 November with a three-day refresher course for its National Intervention Team. This training is an International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent tool used globally to ensure local disaster response capacity is enhanced.

Seventeen volunteers, who had previously attended a five-day training programme in 2009 to become qualified as a ‘NIT’, covered topics such as vulnerability and capacity assessments, relief distribution, logistics and safer access. With additional training, volunteers have the opportunity to become part of the Regional Intervention teams, which assist if there is a disaster elsewhere in the Caribbean.

“I enjoyed the simulation exercise because it gave me the opportunity to have hands on experience in using the skills learned through the NIT training”, said Kyle Mclean, NIT volunteer.

The week continued with a two-day disaster management training course for 27 new disaster responders interested in learning how they can assist communities and the Red Cross in a disaster. Both trainings were officially opened by Hazard Management Cayman Islands and a number of agency employees also attended the training as part of the developing relationship between the organisations.

Finally, the week ended with a simulation disaster exercise of a Category 3 Hurricane, whereby volunteers from both groups were challenged to put their training into action.

“Disaster preparedness and response is a vital part of the Cayman Islands Red Cross and we were very happy to have a total of 44 volunteers get trained during the week,” said Jondo Obi, Cayman Islands Red Cross director. “These volunteers will form an integral part of our community response teams that are due to be established over the next 3 to 5 years.”

Training sessions were led by Nicole Williams, the disaster risk reduction manager for the International Federation of the Red Cross (Trinidad) and Daisy Lilly, the capacity development officer for the Jamaican Red Cross.

Both trainings were supported by Mrs. Obi, as well as recently appointed disaster manager Danielle Coleman.

For more information about corporate Disaster and Shelter Management training for companies or how to support the programme at the CIRC, please contact Danielle Coleman at [email protected] or at 926-3179.

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