Windsor Park graduates emergency response team

George Town group is fifth to undertake 14-week training program

The Windsor Park Community Emergency Response Team celebrated completion of an extensive training program with a formal ceremony and catered dinner at the Town Hall in George Town on Saturday. 

Twenty-five residents received certificates after 14 weeks of course work that included disaster risk management, vulnerability assessment, fire safety, search and rescue and preliminary damage assessment. In addition, the graduates are now certified in first aid and CPR. The course was held at the Wesleyan Holiness Church Hall on Anthony Drive and organized by Hazard Management Cayman Islands. Hazard Management is the government agency charged with preparing for and responding to national threats such as hurricanes and earthquakes. 

The volunteer community teams are organized to help neighborhoods cope with a disaster using their own resources should they be cut off from help or when emergency services are stretched. The teams become local contacts for the National Emergency Operations Centre. 

George Town MLA Roy McTaggart congratulated the Windsor Park team members and thanked them for giving up personal time to learn how they could better help their neighbors in the aftermath of a disaster. 

“Such selflessness was once typical of the Cayman Islands. It is good to see that it still thrives in these busy times,” he remarked. 

Mr. McTaggart pointed out that past experiences with powerful hurricanes had brought home the importance not only of neighborly assistance but also of having information provided by knowledgeable people on the ground. 

“With their new skills, the men and women gathered here tonight will be key to how their community fares post-crisis. Their efforts will make difficult circumstances more tolerable, and could even mean the difference between life and death,” he said. 

Hazard Management director McCleary Frederick presented the team’s authentication certificate legitimizing the team and its function as a community disaster preparedness group. Team leader Samantha McField received the certificate on behalf of members. 

Premier Alden McLaughlin and Red Cross director Jondo Obi presented certificates of course completion to the graduates. Mr. McLaughlin, who is also an elected representative for George Town, thanked them for doing their part to make the district and the Cayman Islands stronger and more resilient. 

Omar Afflick, Hazard Management’s deputy director, served as emcee. 

Guests included friends and relatives of the graduates; Joseph Thompson and Jonathan Christian from the Fire Service, who assisted with training in fire safety and search and rescue; Danielle Coleman, former Red Cross disaster manager, and Red Cross members who assisted with training.  

Hazard Management Cayman Islands and the Cayman Islands Red Cross have successfully trained and established CERT teams in North Side, North Sound Gardens Community, West Bay, Belford Estates in Bodden Town, and now Windsor Park.  

Residents interested in forming a team for their neighborhood may contact Simon Boxall, awareness and education officer, at [email protected]; or [email protected]; or phone 945-4624. 

Mr. McTaggart pointed out that past experiences with powerful hurricanes had brought home the importance not only of neighborly assistance but also of having information provided by knowledgeable people on the ground. 

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Windsor Park CERT member Aubrey Jackson shows MLA Roy McTaggart the contents of an emergency backpack, including hard hats, gloves, rope and a first aid kit. Photo: Carol Winker

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Hazard Management Cayman Islands director McCleary Frederick the certificate of incorporation for the Windsor Park CERT to team leader Samantha McField. – Photo: Simon Boxall

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Windsor Park team leader Samantha McField receives her course certificate from Premier Alden McLaughlin. – Photos: Simon Boxall

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Windsor Park Community Emergency Response Team members gather for a group picture before receiving their backpack emergency kits.
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