Community Emergency Response Teams
Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTS) are formed by volunteer members of a neighbourhood, or workplace, who want to be better prepared for hazards that threaten their communities.
They are trained to recognise, respond to, and help their communities recover from major emergencies or disasters. These teams provide immediate, vital services during large-scale incidents, particularly when the response from professional emergency responders might be delayed.
Teams are currently operating in West Bay, Prospect, North Sound Gardens (Newlands), Savannah Meadows, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.
Participants learn how to identify and anticipate hazards, reduce fire threats in the home and workplace, extinguish small fires, conduct light search and rescue, set up medical treatment areas, first aid and CPR, and help reduce survivor stress as well as conducting damage assessment, and vulnerability, ability and capacity assessment.
CERT members give critical support to first responders in emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, organise spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.
The teams receive ongoing skill development, which can be beneficial in their everyday life or their job. As set out in the Disaster Preparedness and Hazard Management Law, CERT members who are approved to assist in the national response to an incident are paid by their employer for up to 10 days per annum while engaged in the response effort.
- Help prepare their community by identifying threats and risks (for example, flood-prone areas); identify local assets and skills that can support a community response in their area.
- Provide support for the frail elderly and other vulnerable persons by providing welfare checks, assisting with transportation to shelters and relief distribution locations, putting up shutters etc.
- Following an impact, the teams typically break into sub-groups and perform search-and-rescue operations and conduct an initial damage assessment of the community, which is then reported back to the National Emergency Operations Centre. This helps government identify the hardest-hit areas so interventions and support can be prioritised.
- Assist with first aid, provide psychosocial support, and set up food and water stations to distribute relief supplies.
- Help clear roads of downed trees to provide access in and out of the community.
- Training in fire safety and suppression.
- Continual training arranged by Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI).
- WhatsApp group to build awareness and connectedness in the community.