Prospect team wins CERT competition

| 20/09/2016
CNS Local Life

Members of the Prospect CERT team with government and partner agency representatives

(CNS Local Life): The Prospect Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) took home the Chairman’s Challenge Cup in the second annual CERT Challenge, which was held at the Agriculture Grounds on Saturday, 17 September. Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, who is chairman of the National Hazard Management Council, presented the cup to the winning team.

CERT teams are groups of volunteers from communities across the Cayman Islands who have received training in first aid/CPR, fire safety and suppression, disaster preparedness, stress management/disaster psychology, shelter management, initial damage assessment, vulnerability and capacity assessment. It was these skills that the CERT teams put to the test during the CERT Challenge.

In total, five teams competed for the trophy, but the Prospect team, led by Mark Rickman and his deputy, Sabrina Turner, eventually overcame the competition to win the prize. The Prospect group is the newest CERT team to be established, with 43 members of the community completing the programme at the end of February this year. Other established teams include North Side, Bodden Town, North Sound Gardens, West Bay and Windsor Park.

Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI), the Cayman Islands Red Cross and the Cayman Islands Fire Service work in partnership to deliver CERT training, which aims to increase disaster preparedness and resilience at the grass roots level. Residents can sign up for this training whenever a new group is launched. Typically, regular announcements are made in the press alerting residents that a new CERT team being formed.

Those who want to go through training to join a team that is already established in their community can also contact HMCI directly, and they are usually permitted to sit through the next available CERT training course regardless of where it is taking place.

The selection process for where a new team will be established looks at a number of factors including that community’s vulnerability to threats and hazards. One important consideration for establishing a new team is the presence of a community-minded person or persons who may be willing to lead or champion the establishment of a new CERT in their neighbourhood.

Recently 26 students from John Gray High School completed the first campus CERT programme and training has just begun at Clifton Hunter High School to establish a second team. When these students graduate, they can them join their community teams.

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Category: Community

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