OfReg and HMCI to create emergency notification system

| 06/03/2018 | 13 Comments

Emergency notification system, Cayman News Service(CNS): The government’s utilities regulator, OfReg, and Hazard Management Cayman Islands have joined forces to create an emergency notification system (ENS) to ensure widespread communication in the face of a man-made or natural disaster. Following the fuel depot fire at Jackson Point Terminal last July and a tsunami warning in January, the need for a more comprehensive and effective ENS for the Cayman Islands became apparent. OfReg and HMCI have produced a discussion paper for consultation outlining their proposals.
The plan, which is in the CNS Library, includes the use of 12 communications channels combined to get emergency messages to as many people in Cayman Islands as possible, and in the most cost-effective manner, through existing technologies and platforms.

“By leveraging existing technologies like FM radio and text messaging, and existing standards
such as Emergency Alert System (EAS ) and NOAA Weather Radio (NWR), we can maximise the
effectiveness of the ENS while minimising the costs of such efforts,” said Ian Callow, Project
Manager at OfReg.

The operational plan includes SMS messages sent out to all known local numbers in both mobile
operators’ databases; FM Radio/cable TV alerts — auto-generated to interrupt programming to broadcast the emergency notification; the occasional use of low-cost text to voice messaging; sirens for localised threats in high risk areas, such as the CUC plants and the Jackson Point terminal; social media broadcasts and the development of a mobile phone app.

“Safety of life has been a priority of OfReg and the former ICTA for years,” said Alee Fa’amoe, Deputy CEO and Executive Director of ICT at OfReg. He added that the ICTA worked with the governor a few years ago to ensure mobile and telephone networks connected directly to 911 for emergency calls.

OfReg CEO J. Paul Morgan said the main issue was public safety and ensuring that people have immediate access to emergency information.

“Part of our mandate under the law is to protect the consumer. The ENS could potentially save lives through the timely delivery of emergency messages. There can be no argument that this is the highest form of consumer protection,” he said.

OfReg proposes to publish a decision on the final ENS design and implementation by the end of the second quarter 2018.

Comments on the discussion paper should be made in writing to OfReg by 5:00pm on Thursday, 8 March

By email to: consultations@ofreg.ky

Or by post to:
Utility Regulation and Competition Office
PO Box 2502
Grand Cayman KYl-1104

Or by hand to the OfReg office at Alissta Towers, 3rd floor, 85 North Sound Road.

See all OfReg consultations here

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Comments (13)

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  1. Duck & Cover says:

    What about the investigation of this Jackson Point fire, what was the cause, will we ever get an answer, will the culprit(s) be revealed and penalised? Not likely we’ll see any outcome from this. I wouldn’t trust either entity to provide a timely warning on a life threatening situation. The warning just might fall on dead ears.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The OffReg PDF says comments are due “by 5 p.m. on 6 April 2018 at the latest.” Which is a bit annoying because I was all ready to complain about only having 48hrs to (not) comment. Now what will I complain about? 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    When will we see enforcement of the laws in regards to the fleets of road tank-wagons aka mobile refueling trucks refueling boats and public cars? Are we waiting for the first major accident or loss of life before doing something about this?

    “Fuelling from fuel trucks into motor vehicles in the ‘open’ is permitted at commercial, industrial, manufacturing or governmental locations but only in relation to their own business — not as a public service”.

    “We cannot overemphasise that fuelling in unapproved locations is an inherently dangerous practice that puts lives, property and the environment, at risk,” said Duke Munroe. “Among other factors, these RTWs are not ordinarily fitted with the capacity to handle spills or other accidents.”

    “While diesel and gas are both dangerous, gasoline is extremely hazardous, he noted, and warned, “If not handled properly in a controlled and regulated area, the consequences can be dire.”

    “Safety is our major concern, and the public should only fuel up at approved facilities, such as service stations or marinas with public access,” Munroe said. “We implore the public’s cooperation in this regard.”

    “Such illegal activities can be reported anonymously by calling 911 and providing details of vehicles involved, location and time”.


    • Anonymous says:

      And his point is? Gas stations are just as much a threat for spills if not checked regularly. Maybe he fails to see this unless he has his head buried in the sand near one?

  4. West bay Premier says:

    What if people are sitting quietly reading a book in their house near the fuel terminal and the fire is getting out of hand , they don’t have no phone or tv or radio on . How would those people know about the fire ?

    • Anonymous says:

      and they dont feel the heat, smell the smoke, hear the sirens!!!

      • West bay Premier says:

        9:24 am , FIRE don’t wait or waste time once it’s been started and add the amount of fuel in one of those tanks , don’t give everyone enough time to be prepared and get out of the way in an emergency . I think that a siren that can be heard within 10 to 15 miles away should be the first warning . Just like the smoke detectors in your house .

    • West bay Premier says:

      Weren’t there a problem in these mentioned communications during the last fire at the fuel tank ? What has been done to improve those communications and the responsible people ?

  5. Diogenes says:

    Nothing new, just the CIG being reactive instead of proactive, and then people giving them praise for them attempting to make up for past mistakes

    Imagine if something catastrophic had occurred at the depot during that incident, if lives were lost because an evacuation could not be organized in any other way than a door to door attempt

    These islands are no strangers to catastrophic natural disasters, you would think here of all places, where we spend spend the better part of 6 months in constant threat of some of the most powerful forces on our planet, would be prepared to quickly and efficiently relay information to the masses.

    The problem I am pointing out for those who will just describe me as “anti-government hater or a naysayer” or one of the many other titles handed out when anyone is slightly critical on these islands is that, short of the threat of loss of life, the CIG takes very little seriously and they plan for the bare minimum and hope that citizens aren’t paying attention

    Setting up safeguards and precautions should not be something people have to beg for after a potential disaster has passed, the government ought to be doing better than that

    You don’t win points for doing what should have been done in the first place, we shouldn’t be handing out praises because our representatives and their subordinates are doing the bare minimum after-the-fact


    • Anonymous says:

      Incompetence will defeat all efforts.

    • Anonymous says:

      You know – sometimes I feel sorry for government. Yes, I said that. But, no matter what they do, it isn’t good enough, quick enough, smart enough or even partly right – ever. The negativity here makes me think that we live in an absolutely horrible place! So we didn’t have an ENS and we needed one and now we are getting one. That is a good thing. Quit complaining about everything!

  6. Anonymous says:


  7. Anonymous says:

    About time too!

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