Hurricane season is right around the corner and government buildings and shelters in the Cayman Islands are hurricane ready.
The readiness team was in heightened mode last Thursday as Deputy Primer Juliana O’Connor-Connolly delivered a pep talk at Public Works Department base camp just before the teams were dispatched.
There was no dilly-dallying from the Public Works Department, with assistance from the National Roads Authority, after that to put up and remove shutters, check standby generators and test cistern levels on government buildings and shelters.
Radios cackled at the command centre as monitoring correspondents issued orders and kept a close watch on the team of 150 workers carrying out the secure and protect exercise.
PWD Acting Deputy Director of Construction and Maintenance Colin Lumsden said it takes the highly organised team only 5 hours to secure more than 100 government complexes, including 15 shelters before a hurricane hits.
“Right now, I think we are about one of the best in the Caribbean when it comes to hurricane readiness, we are well organised and have been perfecting it for the past 25 years,” he said.
Mr. Lumsden also made reference to other private organisations such as the Cayman Islands Red Cross and emergence response teams that were also assisting in safe guarding and securing various buildings and people in their communities.
He said during the past 25 years, the team has streamlined the exercise making it more efficient while cutting down on the exercise time. In the past, he also said it would take them close to one day to get all government businesses and shelters secure and safe. “This year, we looked forward to making it in a shorter time, which is something to be proud of,” he said.
The exercise duplicates the activities that will take place in the event of a real hurricane. Some statutory authorities are also participating in the exercise, by securing their own facilities.
Members of the public are encouraged to review their own home protection plans as the start of the hurricane season is only a few week away.
At a minimum, the general public are advised to give thought to the following questions:
What materials will be used to cover windows and glass doors in the event of a hurricane; where to get the materials; and is your home a safe place.
Due to the limited number, crowded and uncomfortable nature of hurricane shelters, such facilities should be a last resort. Make every effort to stay in a safe home, with someone you know or work place.