Hospice staff get free disaster training

| 27/08/2019
CNS Local Life
Derek Haines with Felicia McField (far right) and Jasmine staff

(CNS Local Life): Derek Haines, well-known as a champion fundraiser for the hospice, last week offered different assistance to Jasmine Villa when he conducted a free training session in disaster preparation and business continuity for staff members at the dedicated facility on West Bay Road. While the focus was mainly on the threat from hurricanes, Haines, who runs his own disaster consultancy, also spoke about the risks posed by power outages, earthquakes and fires.

He took the staff through various scenarios at the Monday, 12 August session, showing them how to be ready for a hurricane including preparing the hospice building as well as organising their personal plans such as where they would take refuge or if they had to evacuate, for example for parents of young children or babies.

Haines noted he received good feedback from the participants, adding, “All the staff were here for Ivan so I wasn’t talking about anything they weren’t familiar with.”

Felicia McField, director of operations and nursing at Jasmine, said Haines offered good advice and tips for preparing for a hurricane as well as getting through the days after a storm hits. She added that the nurses have disaster management training every two years as part their continuing education. “We were able to finetune our disaster plan for Jasmine Villa as well as personally,” she told CNS.

“Derek’s training session reminded us all that we cannot be too prepared for such a disaster,” McField added. “We all lived through Hurricane Ivan, but quickly forget the little important things. Having a plan that everyone is onboard with is essential to a successful recovery.”

McField pointed out that any patients at the hospice would be sent to one of the shelters designated as a medical centre which would have a dedicated room equipped like a hospital. The facility is not a shelter; it does not have a backup generator, for example, though the plan is eventually to get one.

In case of an impending storm, “We have to make sure our patients have what they need so they will be OK,” McField said. Haines’ advice offered a double benefit in that regard. The hospice staff can use the information learned at the session to get their own homes hurricane ready, she said, which means “we can focus on our patients and their families to make sure they have what they need to weather the storm”.

Haines warned that though the hurricane season, which runs from 1 June to 30 November, has been quiet to date, the peak time for storms is the next two months so people have to stay ready. “It has been 15 years since Ivan and the difficulty is that people may become complacent despite warnings,” he said.

Among the tips he offered were turning off electricity and water (including the valve by the toilets to prevent overflowing when water is restored) and moving items to a more secure place in the building and covering them. “You should turn off all the water in your house because if a pipe breaks and the water comes back on, your house could be flooded,” Haines explained.

He emphasises what companies can do to prepare for a hurricane and ensure business continuity. The idea is to make the exercise as stress-free as possible, noting that after Ivan, “we lost people who died due to stress-related issues”. His training focuses on what could happen and how to deal with it, which could be especially important for a business. The plans, training and disaster exercises he provides comply with the protocols required by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority for Cayman companies associated with the organisation.

Generally speaking, Haines simply wants people to be prepared. “My advice to anybody is to get yourself into the mindset to plan for any eventuality. Don’t just sit around hoping that it doesn’t come,” he said.

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Category: Community, Local News

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