On Alert: Cayman Islands to create mobile app for emergencies

The Director of Hazard Management in the Cayman Islands, Danielle Coleman says work is continuing on the creation of a mobile notification application (app)  to assist in sending out critical information to the public in times of emergencies.

Director of Hazard Management in the Cayman Islands, Danielle Coleman

According to Coleman, the app will be ready by April or May.

This is part of phase two of the National Emergency Notification System (NENS) and will provide an integrated approach to informing the public about national emergencies, including issuing SMS and social media alerts.

“We strongly encourage everyone to download this app because again, those notifications would come directly through that as one voice,” Coleman said as she addressed a recent media briefing on Cayman’s response following Tuesday’s earthquake.

Coleman added that the NENS was activated shortly after the territory felt the impact of the magnitude 7.7 earthquake.

“We strongly encourage everyone to download this app because again, those notifications would come directly through that as one voice.”

She said Hazard Management will be working with stakeholders, including police, to ensure its response continues to be as “effective and responsible as possible”.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, commenting on the response, said it could have been a different situation if the earthquake had happened at night.

Premier Alden McLaughlin

 “I think we need to do some evaluation, some assessment ourselves, and determine how we would respond if that were to be the case,” noting that unlike for hurricanes you cannot prepare for earthquakes”.

Meanwhile, teams from the Department of Planning, National Roads Authority, Public Works Department and District Administration have conducted a systematic assessment of buildings.

The authorities said the reported damage was superficial, including minor structural damage to windows and some plumbing or leaking issues.

Officials are primarily monitoring issues of structural integrity, such as cracks to buildings and damage to pipelines that may pose a hazard, but there does not appear to have been any significant damage.

The planning ministry has asked homeowners to conduct assessments on their own properties and to consult with private structural engineers or the department if concerned.