Volunteers practice disaster response

Volunteers practice putting out small fires under the direction of Cayman Islands Fire Service crews Saturday at the Lower Valley agriculture grounds. - Photos: Brent Fuller

Dozens of volunteers clad in light-blue vests practiced putting out fires, search-and-rescue techniques and treating “wounded” patients Saturday morning at the Lower Valley agriculture grounds.

The drills, set up by Hazard Management Cayman Islands with assistance from the Cayman Islands Red Cross, were part of the Community Emergency Response Team – CERT – training for volunteers.

The CERT program has been developed since Hurricane Ivan in 2004, when it was realized that certain incidents, particularly in Grand Cayman’s more rural districts, needed emergency responses that were not always available immediately due to travel difficulties or shortages of resources.

A mock triage is set up in the agriculture grounds pavillion, where volunteers practice treating 'injured' patients.
A mock triage is set up in the agriculture grounds pavillion, where volunteers practice treating ‘injured’ patients.

During Saturday’s training, volunteers got to practice on “real-life” rescue response scenarios. A triage of mock “wounded” patients was set up inside the agriculture pavilion where the “patients” were bandaged and treated for their various stages of injury. Volunteers practiced some search-and-rescue methods inside one of the houses on the pavilion grounds, while others used a fire extinguisher to put out a small fire, under the direction of local fire service crews.

The two-day training for CERT volunteers includes CPR and first aid, as well as training in the use of defibrillators. There is also some training for volunteers in assisting individuals who may have been affected by a disaster to manage their stress, and in how to manage a storm shelter.

Not every district in Grand Cayman has a CERT-trained team, but a number of neighborhoods have registered CERT teams in North Side, West Bay, Bodden Town and George Town.

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