Over 45 Government Departments and agencies gathered at the George Town Hospital Conference room on Wednesday, April 15th for a workshop on Hazard Management Plan Development. The planning session was led by Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) Director, Dr. Barbara Carby. HMCI Deputy Director McCleary Frederick gave an overview of the proposed disaster management legislation which, when passed into law, will require all Cayman Islands Government entities to develop such plans.
Dr. Carby explained that, "The Cayman Islands Government now requires all Government agencies to have in place disaster response and continuity of operations plans (COOP), and many Government agencies already have these plans in place; however plans require review and amendments, and ongoing training is necessary to keep staff current on their roles and responsibilities."
The (COOP) plans are important because they are designed to ensure that Government agencies continue to provide essential functions during and after an emergency. These plans also help to protect staff, equipment, records and other vital assets.
Emergencies that require activation of the plans can take many forms such as a fire or a flood; however it is hurricanes that pose the number one threat in Cayman. The Cayman Islands have been threatened and impacted by a number of hurricanes since Hurricane Ivan struck in 2004, and since that time there has been increasing recognition that work needs to be done to reduce or mitigate the disruptions that can result to Government operations following a disaster or emergency. Government also needs to achieve a timely and orderly recovery following an impact.
During the seminar, the senior managers and directors of Government departments were taken through the standardised format which has been developed for CIG plans. "Although various departments have different roles and responsibilities, it is still possible to have a standardised approach to plan development that can be rolled out across the whole spectrum of Government agencies." Dr. Carby explained that during the seminar they looked at both response and continuity of operations plans. "The continuity of operations plan sets out what critical services will continue to be provided in the event of a major disaster. The response plan looks at management of the crisis. There are different considerations and both are important"
A number of Government ministries and agencies have already established their plans. In addition, each year HMCI reviews and updates the National Hurricane Plan.
For further information contact: Susan Watler