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Safety Evaluation of Buildings

...we conducted assessments of the buildings and the system worked, but...

McCleary Frederick, Director - HMCI

Published 22nd February 2011, 9:39am

The Cayman Islands is now in a better position to assess the safety of buildings following earthquakes, windstorms and floods.

Members of staff from Building Control, Public Works, the Planning Department, Structural Engineers, Architects and Building Surveyors were among a group of about 50 construction specialists who took part in two courses in building safety evaluation.

The first course took place on Monday, February 14th and was entitled "Safety Evaluation of Buildings after Windstorm and Floods (ATC –45). The second was "Post Earthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings" (ATC – 20) and that was held on Monday, February 21st. Both seminars were conducted at the Marriott Hotel and were full day events leading to certification with the Applied Technology Council (ATC).

"The courses were funded by the UKAid Department for International Development," explained McCleary Frederick, the Director of Hazard Management Cayman Islands. "The funding allowed us to bring experienced trainers to the Cayman Islands and we now have a significant group of local professionals who are knowledgeable about the procedures and guidelines for evaluating the safety of damaged buildings."

It is expected that the individuals who underwent the training will now form the core group of Damage Assessment Teams who will be expected to conduct assessments after a damaging earthquake or hurricane. The Teams will be required to make on–the–spot evaluations and decisions regarding the continued use and occupancy of damaged buildings. McCleary Frederick said, "We saw the need for this after Hurricane Paloma in the Sister Islands; we conducted assessments of the buildings and the system worked, but it was clear that the procedures for systematic surveys and evaluations could be improved."

HMCI has been involved in setting up a number of other multi–agency training courses designed to make the Cayman Islands better prepared for natural and man–made disasters. These include courses such as Mass Casualty Training, Incident Command Systems and a course entitled Emergency Care and Treatment.