Published 21st August 2019, 3:36pm
Savannah Meadows has become the seventh community to establish a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) following a graduation ceremony held on Wednesday, 14 August at Bodden Town Civic Centre.
A total of 10 volunteers completed 26 hours of training across a 5 week period in the lead up to graduating. The training, provided by Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) and Cayman Islands Red Cross, covered topics on search and rescue, vulnerability and capacity assessment, damage assessment and fire safety.
Mr. Alva Suckoo, MLA for Newlands and Mr. David Wight, MLA for George Town West also attended the event on Wednesday to congratulate the volunteers on their achievements.
The newly established team includes volunteers from the Cayman Islands Fire Service, Government Facilities Management, the National Weather Service and other various organisations.
One of HMCI’s key mandates is to foster greater resilience across the Cayman Islands. By offering the CERT programme, they aim to embed preparation, response and hazard mitigation into the heart of communities and develop resilience at a grassroots level.
“CERT members take on many active roles within their community. Their skill sets prepare them to alleviate suffering before, during and after an event,” Acting Deputy Director of HMCI, Ms. Teresita DaSilva, explained.
“We are very grateful to those who have volunteered for their commitment to making their community a stronger and more resilient place,” she continued.
To help prepare for potential hazards, Savannah’s newly established CERT will be responsible for compiling lists of resource personnel and equipment within their community, identifying potential hazards and who may be the most vulnerable in their community as well as promoting awareness of disaster preparedness.
In times of natural disaster, emergency services may become over-stretched and communities can be inaccessible. CERTs are crucial to increasing national disaster response capacity and provide valuable on-the-ground information for critical decision making during the aftermath.
Minister of Financial Services and Home Affairs, Hon. Tara Rivers JP MLA, thanked the CERTs for their contribution to the community. In a speech read out by Acting Deputy Chief Officer, Mr. Julian Lewis, she said, “I would like to sincerely thank and congratulate all the Savannah Meadows CERT participants and express my sincere appreciation to you for committing yourself to assisting the country whenever there is a time of need.”
The formation of a CERT in the Savannah Meadows area was spearheaded by Ms. Heather Bodden who put in a vast amount of effort to see the team come to fruition.
Savannah Meadows joins a further six communities who have CERTs already established. These are North Side, North Sound Garden Community, West Bay, Windsor Park, Cayman Brac and Prospect.
CERT training is free and open to all residents aged 16 and over.
Members of the public wishing to complete CERT training or to establish a team in their area are encouraged to contact Teresita DaSilva at 945-4624 for further information.