New urban search & rescue team ready and able

| 29/08/2012

Urban Search and Rescue 087 (244x300).jpg(CNS): Cayman now has a certified urban search and rescue team which will be deployed in variety of circumstances, including post impact situations such as a damaging earthquake, fire or following a hurricane where buildings have been damaged or collapsed. Officials from Hazard Management said this week that 15 civil servants went through a rigorous five week training programme held at the Fire Service Headquarters on Airport Road and coordinated by Senior Divisional Officer, Duane Tibbetts. Participants are fully certified by the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) guidelines, a global network of urban search and rescue and field coordination.

INSARAG sets international standards and establishes the methodology for response coordination in the aftermath of earthquakes and collapsed structure disasters, CIHM said in a release.  In addition to this certification the new Cayman Islands rescue team has also been provided with an equipment package to enable them to effectively carry out their duties.

The training course was included as an output of the EU funded R3i program, a regional risk reduction initiative which is also funding a vulnerability analysis of critical infrastructure in the Cayman Islands and which seeks to increase regional capacity in the British and Dutch overseas territories.

Lead Trainer Ron Mobley explained that the only reason why the Dutch and UK Overseas Territories got the Urban Search and rescue training is because McCleary Frederick, Director of Hazard Management Cayman Islands saw a need and pushed for it.

"The whole region has benefitted from Mr. Frederick's vision and foresight," explained Mobley, "We have already completed the training in Aruba, TCI and Curacao and both Assistant Instructor Dwayne Straun and I are in agreement that this team in the Cayman Islands is the crème de la crème, it is the best group we have seen so far. They came together for the training and by the end they were a family."

The 15 members of the Urban Search and Rescue team come from a variety of Government Agencies including, Police, Fire, Customs, EMT, Cadets and Prisons and the variety of knowledge and experience adds to the capacity of the group. Both Instructors had high praise for Tiffany Ebanks, the sole woman who went through the training.

"The Cayman Islands is now a little better situated when it comes to our response capacity, not just for hurricanes, but for other events such as earthquakes where we could be facing the possibility of collapsed buildings,” said Frederick at the graduation ceremony. “The team will activate through CIFS, or alternatively during certain incidents we may also choose to deploy the team through the Search and Rescue Sub Committee of the National Emergency Operations Centre."

The Urban Search and Rescue training program was comprised of Emergency Medical Responder, Hazard Management Awareness, Incident Command Systems, Lifting and Shoring Loads, Search Techniques and Considerations, Rescue Levels I and II, Rope Rescue Level I and II, Mass Casualty Management, First Aid and CPR, Emergency Medical Responder and Stress Management in Disasters. The Leader of the Cayman Islands Search and Rescue Team is Whitney Tatum, a Fire Officer based in Cayman Brac and Deputy Leader is Adrian Clarke from the RCIPS.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Good to hear.  Any addition to the emergency services arsenal to save lives has to be a very good thing.  Congratulations to those that passed the course.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Another waste of time and money. Did anyone with a brain think to advertise to see if anyone locally had any valuable skills that could be of use to a rescue team?
    This Island has a lot of expats with certain skills that we don’t even knowabout and would be willing to share if only they were given a chance.
    Who picked this team and what was the criteria? And why only one woman?
    You have a lot to learn yet it seems.

    • Anonymous says:



    • Anonymous says:

      If you have in fact or know of persons who have specific training in search and rescue you or they would know that since its has not been a practiced skill it will need sharpening and training will be necessary to ensure persons are all at the same standard and are able to function together (that’s what we do even at work) why should govt be any less…

      Interesting cynicism though…

      Additionally, the course was paid for by the UNDP and was for 5weeks… Who else could the govt gaurantee would get that amount of time off to be internationally certified as a Light Level USAR team…

      Would you want an unlicensed doctor operating on you or an untrained EMT or first aides doing CPR on you?


    • Anonymous says:

      You have a lot to learn period!