Public officials to tackle hazardous waste threats

| 22/03/2014

(CNS): Thirty-six government workers will be taking part in a 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Certification training programme this coming week. The training will culminate in a simulation emergency exercise at the Fire Service’s training ground. The focus is on cooperation between different agencies responding to emergencies involving hazardous materials. A HAZMAT incident is not necessarily a single event. Hazardous materials can be contributing factors in aircraft or port incidents, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorist activity or other disastrous conditions. 

The course will prepare government workers to protect their own safety and that of the general public in daily operations, as well as providing the capacity to respond to emergency spills of hazardous chemicals despite being uncommon. The training will also address the need to minimise the environmental and health impacts of improper management of hazardous substances.

By increasing the cadre of trained individuals in the respective agencies across Government, the Cayman Islands will be better poised to effectively cope with such situations and to mitigate their effects.

The training which is sponsored by the Ministry of Health, Sports, Youth and Culture (HYS&C) and coordinated by the Department of Environmental Health (DEH), is based on the Incident Command System (ICS) which is used by emergency services around the world and provides a standardised, on-scene, all-hazards approach to incident management. The ICS allows responders to adopt an integrated organisational structure which identifies the steps that lead to improved coordination in response to incidents.

Many Cayman Islands government departments and authorities have taken part in this training before  and a number of these individuals will be updating their knowledge by taking part in the refresher course and completing three half-day modules of classroom and field instruction.  For those being certified for the first time, the course takes the format of a 40-hour workshop, which includes nine classroom and field instruction modules.

The course, which will take place at the Public Works Training Room from 24 – 28 March, will culminate with all participants taking on roles in an Emergency Simulation Exercise, and completing a written exam.  In total, 36 persons are registered for the training. They range from the Department of Environmental Health, the Postal Service, the Fire Service, Water Authority-Cayman, Public Works Department, the Petroleum Inspectorate, and Hazard Management Cayman Islands.

Additionally, two individuals from Cayman Brac are registered; one from DEH and one from the Fire Service. This will increase the number of HAZWOPER trained persons in Cayman Brac to three.

This hands-on training course is provided by David Jensen and Roy Coons, experienced trainers in the areas of Spill Control, Safety and Emergency Response. Now semi-retired Jensen is a former Director of Texas A & M University’s National Spill Control School while Coons is the Director of the Environmental, Health & Safety Department of Texas A & M (Corpus Christi). Both men have conducted similar courses in the Cayman Islands before, as well assisting with the clean-up in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. 

DEH would like to thank the Public Works Department and the Cayman Islands Fire Service for their assistance in hosting this important training workshop.  It also acknowledges the support of the Ministry of HSY&C for its support of this endeavour.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Shocked that it has taken so long since these trainers were last here, 2006 I think?. In order to be properly certified you must take a refresher course every year or one runs the bigger risk of having someone killed when responding to a real situation. Take this training very seriously if you plan on responding for real!

    Better keep all of those suits and check them for leaks as they'll come in handy if we propose to mine the dump. While you're at it, arm the team with some dosimeters and geiger counters too!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, at least someone will at least know what hazardous waste threat is, and it exists in this so called paradize.

  3. Anonymous says:

    At least they can go as one of the characters from Despicable Me to Hallowe'en parties.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think we should all get those suits for free, especially if you have to meet someone from the MLA..

  4. Anonymous says:

    Are 36 of them going to be enough to handle Mt Trashmore?

    What a joke!