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The Prospect team led by Mark Rickman and his Deputy Sabrina Turner eventually overcame the competition to seize the prize.

Published 19th September 2016, 4:19pm

The Prospect Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) took home the Chairmanís Challenge Cup in the second annual CERT Challenge, which was held at the Agriculture Grounds on Saturday. The Cup was presented by the Deputy Governor, Franz Manderson, who is the Chairman of the National Hazard Management Council. The Chief Officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Wesley Howell was also present at the event.

CERT teams are groups of volunteers from communities across the Cayman Islands who have received training in a number of disciplines such as First Aid / CPR, Fire Safety and Suppression, Disaster Preparedness, Stress Management / Disaster Psychology, Shelter Management, Initial Damage Assessment, Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment. It was these skills that the CERT teams put to the test during the CERT Challenge.

In total, five teams were vying for the trophy, but the Prospect team led by Mark Rickman and his Deputy Sabrina Turner eventually overcame the competition to seize the prize. It was a great result for Prospect because they are the newest CERT team to be established - with 43 members of the community completing the program at the end of February, this year. Other established teams include North Side, Bodden Town, North Sound Gardens, West Bay and Windsor Park.

HMCI, the Cayman Islands Red Cross and the Cayman Islands Fire Service work in partnership to deliver CERT training which aims to increase disaster preparedness and resilience at the grass roots level. Residents can sign up for CERT training when a new group is being launched. Typically, regular announcements are made in the press alerting residents that a new CERT team is in formation and meeting times and locations are published. Residents that want to go through training to join a team that is already established in their community can also contact HMCI directly, and they are usually permitted to sit through the next available CERT training course regardless of where it is taking place.

The selection process for where a new team will be established in the Cayman Islands involves considering a number of factors including that communityís vulnerability to threats and hazards, however one important consideration for the establishment of a new team is the presence of a community minded person/s who may be willing to lead or champion the establishment of a new CERT in their neighbourhood. If you are such a person and you want a CERT in your community please contact HMCI and we will be happy to meet with you to consider your community for an upcoming training.

Recently 26 students from John Gray High School completed the first Campus CERT program and training has just begun at the Clifton Hunter High School to establish a second Campus CERT team. It is hoped that some of the students who go through the Campus CERT training will eventually join their community groups after they graduate high school, boosting the ranks of the established CERT teams.