West Bay emergency team graduates

A team of 34 people have graduated from a three-month training program to establish the West Bay Community Emergency Response Team.

Residents worked with Hazard Management Cayman Islands and the Red Cross to train in skills including search and rescue. CPR, first aid, shelter operations, fire safety and initial damage assessment.

The team graduated on Sunday at a ceremony at the John A. Cumber School Hall.

Following an event such as a hurricane, the West Bay team will produce and radio initial damage assessment data to the National Emergency Response Centre where the information will be used to guide a national response and provide an indication of where resources are needed.

Team leader Jenny Powery said it was the first time the district had established a such a team.

“There’s a lot of vulnerable people in the West Bay area and they are going to need assistance in an emergency so we needed to form a group to help,” Ms. Powery said.

“Hazard Management has equipped us with rescue gear and the group is willing, trained and available to respond in an emergency that may occur. We have an able bunch of people who are willing and able to respond in any emergency.”

Hazard Management communications officer Simon Boxall said the district teams were important because residents had the best understanding of their own communities.

“Roads may be blocked, people may need help, and in the initial days following an impact, it is likely that government will have to focus on bringing critical infrastructure such as the airport and port back on line.

“Meanwhile, we hope and expect that the trained search and rescue team from the West Bay Community Emergency Response Teams will be fanning out to locate and assist the injured, and the West Bay Community Emergency Response Teams’ Welfare Team may set up food and water distribution areas to help those who are most desperate,” Mr. Boxall said.

“We know government can’t do everything, and groups like the West Bay Community Emergency Response Team help build our capacity and resilience. This group is an important asset and resource in the national response mechanism and we appreciate the commitment shown by the members of the team who stuck with the training.”

Mr. Boxall said Hazard Management hoped a team would be established in each district to assist in this hurricane season. The annual hurricane seasons runs from June 1 to November 30.