Senior managers from a range of first response agencies in the Cayman Islands completed a three-day strategic level Incident Command Systems (ICS) training course this month.
ICS is a system designed to be used or applied from the time an incident occurs until the requirement for management and operations no longer exists. ICS can be used to cope with incidents of any kind or complexity.
The PAHO training was hosted by Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) and delivered by Chief Safety Officer for the Cayman Islands Airport Authority, Andrew McLaughlin and RCIPS Inspector, Ian Yearwood.
Commenting on the importance of multi-agency first responder training, the Minister for Home Affairs, Hon. Tara Rivers, JP said: “A coordinated approach to any emergency situation is a critical factor to the success of the response. Joint training such as this provides our first responders with an opportunity to engage in scenario-based problem solving and to enhance the collaborative relationships that already exists, which improves their ability to deal with emergencies as one cohesive force.”
She continued, “Bringing our top class first responder teams together strengthens efforts when communities need them most.”
”It was a useful course,” said RCIPS Superintendent Adrian Seales. “The training provided an opportunity for senior leaders from a range of agencies to work together. An emergency response with multiple agencies can be complex, and as such, we need to ensure it is well coordinated,” he continued.
Mr. Seales was one of nine first responders on the course. Other personnel included representatives from agencies such as Department of Environmental Health, Cayman Islands Fire Service, Department of Environment and the Cayman Islands Port Authority.
The training covered a variety of incidents including emergency medical situations, hazardous materials incidents, vehicle accidents, earthquake, fires, flooding and public health threats such as pandemics.
Divisional Manager for the Cayman Islands Fire Service, Dwight Rankin, who had previously attended ICS training in the United States, said this training was different.
Mr. Rankin stated that, “It was very beneficial. We revisited incidents such as the SOL Fire, Carifta Games and KAABOO. We looked at how the command, control and coordination of an emergency response could roll out, especially when multiple agencies are involved.”
Deputy Director at the Department of Environment, Scott Slaybaugh, said: “For something like an oil spill or an accident at sea, it was useful to get to know the people we would be working with better and how we would come together to respond. It was also a beneficial cross training exercise for others in our department who might be called upon to assume a leadership role for a significant event at sea.”
Acting Chief Inspector, Harlan Powery saw opportunities for continued refinement. “I think it is a team effort and the more we work together the better the chances we will reach our goals when we are called upon to act. We try to be as prepared as best we can, because you never know what the future will bring. Training like this helps us to anticipate and plan,” Mr. Powery commented.
“Span of control is what interested me,” said Divisional Manager for the Cayman Islands Fire Service, Whitman Tatum. “It means how many people you can reasonably expect to provide input and impact the decision-making process in the Incident Command Centre.”
HMCI Director, Danielle Coleman explained, “First responder’s knowledge of protocols and Incident Command procedures is critical to ensure an effective multi-agency response. For instance, how we work together when the normal mechanisms are overwhelmed. You need a concerted national perspective. I think the course achieved that and I’m grateful to our trainers and participants for making it a success”.