The Disaster Management Office of the Cayman Islands Red Cross geared up late last month with its first monthly meeting for disaster volunteer responders.
With 33 volunteers in attendance, the meeting was held to discuss 2012 preparedness measures in order to ensure that each responder will be ready in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
Preparedness measures include the cleaning and rotation of disaster relief supplies located in the six containers around Grand Cayman.
During the past six years, the local Red Cross has been committed to each community of the Cayman Islands by positioning 40 feet containers in every district, including the Sister Islands. These containers are stocked with items such as tarpaulins, tents, family and baby hygiene kits, cots, cleaning kits and buckets.
In 2010, the Department of International Development, a United Kingdom government department whose goal is “to promote sustainable development and eliminate world poverty”, approached the local Red Cross to manage a regional warehouse that would be based in Grand Cayman. This warehouse (located in the Industrial area) is also stocked with tarpaulins, tents, water containers to name a few.
Not only can these supplies benefit residents of Cayman, but the warehouse itself serves as a training tool for CIRC volunteers and other community members who wish to gain a better understanding of logistics. In the event of a disaster in any of the Caribbean overseas territories, such goods would be sent to assist the affected persons.
This year, in collaboration with Hazard Management Cayman Islands, the local Red Cross will once again be working to establish Community Emergency Response Teams to ensure that each community is well-trained and prepared to respond to any emergency. Through training, community members will be able to identify various hazards and risks that they might be exposed to, as well as coordinate their resources and capacities.
In addition, the Disaster Management office will be tasked to undertake other preparedness activities, such as the local Red Cross fleet and transport management, shelter and generator maintenance, overhaul of the communications system, and the establishment of framework agreements with trucking, DIY and catering companies. The Cayman Islands Red Cross Disaster Management team will also be focusing on preparedness/training in schools and fundraising activities.
“In order to be effective, we must be both proactive and reactive when it comes to disaster preparedness, mitigation and response,” said Danielle Coleman, manager of the disaster management office of the Cayman Islands Red Cross. “We must ensure that the Cayman Islands Red Cross has done everything in its’ power to engage with communities, government, schools and the general public before, during and after a disaster strikes, in order to minimize both human and economic loss.”
For more information about the CIRC disaster management programme or to volunteer, please contact Danielle Coleman at [email protected] or by phone: 949-6785 (ext. 22)/ 926-3179.