HMCI Develops National Hazmat Response Plan
The U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently sponsoring a project to develop a Hazardous Materials Management Response Plan for the Cayman Islands. Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) is coordinating the effort and hosting stakeholder meetings.
HMCI Deputy Director for Preparedness and Planning, Danielle Coleman explained, In almost every home in the Cayman Islands there are hazardous materials, some are toxic, some are explosive, some flammable. Hazardous materials have become part of our everyday lives. When produced, stored, transported and used properly, hazardous materials make our lives easier, when mishandled or when accidents occur, such materials can present a deadly threat to public health and safety.
Currently, among other issues, there is limited tracking of hazardous materials in the Cayman Islands once they clear through the ports of entry and this has the potential to pose a significant threat to the public and in particular to first responders if there is a spillage/ fire or other incident.
A critical part the planning process also involves identifying what resources and capabilities are already here within the Cayman Islands that are available to respond to a HazMat incident. With this knowledge we can then identify where the resource gaps are. We also need to clarify the roles and responsibilities; for example where does the Department of Environmental Health, or the Fire Department or the Police Service or Hazard Management fit in to hazardous material preparedness and response activities?
A multi-agency approach to HazMat planning can help us identify the threats we face and the resources we need to respond safely, efficiently and effectively. Miss Coleman added, To contain the consequences of a HazMat incident, Cayman must have plans and standard operating procedures in place that are maintained and practiced regularly by all 1st Responders who have role to play in the response to an incident. The detrimental consequences of not planning for these events are very high and could include fatalities, property damage and environmental contamination. We are grateful for the support from the FCO in assisting the Cayman Islands with the development of our National Hazmat Response Plan and we feel sure it will make our Islands stronger and safer in the long run.
For further information contact: Jamie Hicks