Published 26th July 2011, 11:57am
Governor Duncan Taylor and HMCI Director McCleary Frederick flew over Grand Cayman on Monday in the RFA ‘Wave Ruler’ helicopter.
It is likely the Royal Navy would offer the helicopter for reconnaissance and assessment in the aftermath of a disaster such as a hurricane impact; so the flight was an opportunity to test procedures and look for potential landing sites. The Lynx helicopter can also transport a certain amount of water and supplies, and can deploy personnel and provide airlift capacity if needed.Following an impact, the initial survey flight generally follows the contours of the coastline, but critical inland facilities are also examined. The survey provides a broad view of the extent of the damage, and helps to determine where to deploy first responders and emergency supplies of things like food and water. This initial assessment is followed by a more detailed post impact assessment which is carried out by teams of trained personnel on the ground.
During the hurricane season, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker ‘Wave Ruler’ typically spends several months in the Caribbean Sea because one of its primary roles is to provide disaster relief for British Overseas Territories.
Wave Ruler’s Lynx helicopter has also been out searching for ‘Miss Janice,’ a 37 foot long vessel that left Grand Cayman last week headed for Swan Island and is now missing with six souls on board.
During the simulated “windshield survey” the officials travelled the coastline, covering areas which are usually impacted. Following a crisis, such an initial tour would precede a more detailed post-impact assessment. It would also help determine where help, like food and water, is most needed.
The Lynx helicopter tour was led by Lt Commander Garth Atkinson, and included Governor Duncan Taylor, CBE; Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) Director McCleary Frederick; and Assistant Defence Attaché Steve Freeman who is based in Jamaica.