Nearly 60 people responded to Hurricane Chance this week, a two-day simulation exercise to remind emergency response teams how to use the National Hurricane Plan in the event of a natural disaster and to teach others about it.
Hazard Management Cayman Islands activated the National Emergency Operations Centre at the University College of the Cayman Islands where participants worked with the crisis management software WebEOC.
The software allows teams across various subcommittees, including emergency services, debris management, volunteer agencies, and emergency shelters, to communicate and work together in an emergency through the use of email, text and radio communication.
Ministry of Home Affairs deputy chief officer Wesley Howell said the exercise also allowed the government to identify any weaknesses or changes that needed to be addressed before a real disaster.
“In the event of any kind of emergency, whether it’s a hurricane or tsunami, or another major incident, the ability for the government to act immediately and respond to the needs of the community are critical,” Mr. Howell said.
“The preparation part of what we do is an important input into how well we do when a disaster happens.”
Mr. Howell said the exercise worked as a refresher course for some participants and was first-time training for new members.
Hazard Management deputy director and course coordinator Omar Afflick said the course used real scenarios to ensure teams knew how to respond and work together in the event of an emergency, while identifying areas that needed attention.
He said that although this week’s exercise was hurricane focused, the training could also be applied to various emergencies, such as a plane crash or mass-casualty incident.
“It’s very important to refresh everybody with the response mechanisms and the tools we use in an emergency,” Mr. Afflick said.
“It’s being prepared to manage any event that may affect us and ensuring that we have appropriate and effective measures.”
Teams were also present from the Water Authority, Red Cross and CUC.