From left, Hazard Management Cayman Islands Director Danielle Coleman, Yvette Dilbert, interim leader of the Cayman Brac CERT, and Sister Islands District Commissioner Ernie Scott celebrate the graduation of the new Cayman Brac Community Emergency Response Team.

Cayman Brac now has its own Community Emergency Response Team.

On Saturday, 52 residents who had completed their emergency response training attended a graduation ceremony at the Seafarers and Veterans Hall.

The graduates had  undergone training in First Aid/CPR, fire safety and suppression, disaster preparedness, stress management/disaster psychology, search and rescue operations, initial damage assessment, vulnerability and capacity assessment.

District Commissioner for the Sister Islands Ernie Scott, who is also chairman of the Sister Islands Emergency Committee, in a speech, praised the commitment of the residents to bettering their community and thanked them for volunteering to make the Brac and Little Cayman more resilient.

Hazard Management Cayman Islands and the Cayman Islands Red Cross deliver the 26-hour CERT training course, which aims to increase disaster preparedness and resilience at the grassroots level. Fire officer John Christian also assisted by conducting the fire safety and search and rescue components of the CERT course.

CERT training is free and open to all residents above the age of 16.

Following the graduation of the Brac CERT team, Hazard Management Director Danielle Coleman said, “This is an important development for our national disaster response capacity; the Sister Islands now has a trained group of volunteers who can assist with the response and relief efforts following an impact from an event such as [a] hurricane. They also have a significant preparedness role.

“These volunteers gave up 26 hours of their time to get trained and this in itself demonstrates commitment, which we feel confident will be sustainable. We are hopeful that the Cayman Islands aren’t impacted by a hurricane this year, but if we are, we now have a stronger and more prepared team of responders in the Sister Islands that can assist.”

The Cayman Brac team is the sixth CERT to be established in Cayman, with teams in Prospect, North Side, North Sound Gardens, West Bay and Windsor Park. A number of students from John Gray High School and Clifton Hunter High School have also completed the Campus CERT program.

Hazard Management and Red Cross say they are hoping to commence general CERT training for people across the Cayman Islands in October.

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