The national response to COVID-19 has required everyone to adapt their ways of working, including those of the essential services the public rely on to keep them safe.
The Department of Public Safety Communication (DPSC), Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS) and Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service (HMCIPS) continue to offer their world-class service 24 hours a day, albeit under adjusted conditions.
“The primary focus for all our essential agencies remains to be the safety of everyone across the Cayman Islands. Each agency has well-versed business continuity plans and are working closely as a public safety community to continue operations during these difficult times,” commented the Minister for Financial Services and Home Affairs, Hon. Tara Rivers, JP.
In an emergency, DPSC reminds residents to inform the 911 operator if anyone at the incident has coronavirus symptoms and/or is self-isolating. This crucial information will help to minimize disruption to the public safety operations and protect first responding staff.
Since 7 March, DPSC has received 123 calls from the public relating to coronavirus.
The Director of Public Safety Communications, Julian Lewis, said, “DPSC employees are dedicated professionals who contribute to public safety every single day. Our well-practiced business continuity plan ensures an uninterrupted public safety answer point for all three islands. We are in constant contact with our emergency service partners to see this plan is a success to handle and mobilise an efficient and swift professional operational response to all incident types.”
CIFS has supplies of personal protective equipment and enhanced operational control measures in place to keep firefighters safe and able to continue to protect the community.
Chief Fire Officer, Paul Walker QFSM, stated, “I would like to offer my assurance to the residents of the Cayman Islands that CIFS will continue to respond to their needs and maintain a 24 hour, 7 days a week fire and rescue service throughout the challenging times ahead. We are working with our emergency service partners to provide a swift and professional operational response to all incident types.”
In response to the current COVID-19 concerns, HMCIPS has taken steps to mitigate the likelihood of transmission in prisons. In addition to following the health advice of public health officials, HMCIPS has implemented restrictions to the numbers of visitors, volunteers and service providers that enter. New systems are in place to enable family contact to continue instead of face-to-face contact.
The Director of Prisons, Steve Barrett stated, “I would like to take this opportunity to assure residents that public protection and the rehabilitation of offenders remains our core function, in spite of the exceptional community health circumstances we are facing. We are taking all of the steps we can to ensure that those in our custody and our staffing group are protected. This is a time where the prison community needs to exercise a shared responsibility to look after one another and that is what we are working to do.”
DPSC, CIFS and HMCIPS are part of the National Emergency Operations Centre and the broader robust response to the coronavirus taken by the Cayman Islands Government.