Response to a disaster or approaching storm is planned because preparation mitigates loss.
Preparation reduces loss of life/injury to persons and loss of/damage to property and infrastructure. Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) exists to ensure that all practical precautions are taken in advance to minimise injury to people and loss of property. Thus HMCI offers a prepared response.
HMCI has an evacuation committee that assists visitors who want to leave the islands. For residents, HMCI tries to ensure that each district has a shelter and an Emergency Medical Centre, both staffed with trained volunteers. EMC volunteers are Red Cross-trained and provide support for health services staff.
HMCI is also proactive with educating the community. Brochures, public displays, TV programmes and radio announcements have all helped to spread messages on supplies, shutters, family plans, taking care of the elderly and pets, and more.
Damage to and loss of property has escalated on the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico because people have been building businesses and homes on the coasts. The Cayman Islands adopted a version of the SBCCI (Southern Building Code Congress International), modified for use in Cayman, and newer homes sustain less roof damage during storms than older dwellings. Also some businesses have constructed hurricane-proof buildings to guarantee business continuity.
Hurricane Ivan damaged 83% of Cayman's homes; all of the hotels sustained damage. The Islands' financial services industry activated its business continuity plans and was, from other locations, serving clients the next day.
As bad as the storm was, residents know it could have been much worse.