HMCI tests ability to deal with tsunami on busy day

| 14/03/2019 | 17 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): Officials from Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) took part in a regional tsunami exercise on Thursday to test how the country could respond to a tsunami warning following a massive 8.47 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Panama. Danielle Coleman, the director of HMCI, said the agency wants to critically examine the response and coordination process between first response agencies should such an event happen on a typical busy cruise ship day, just like today, with just a two-hour warning.

“The exercise commences at 9am …when we will have 5 cruise ships in Port and thousands of visitors on Seven Mile Beach,” she said. “Obviously we can’t test every aspect of our response plans, so we have chosen to bring together senior level first responders to discuss what could realistically be accomplished within a two-hour window if a tsunami was really heading towards the Cayman Islands,” Coleman added.

The Caribe Wave exercise is modelled by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and results in a tsunami wave of between 3 and 9 feet impacting Cayman about two hours after the earthquake occurs. The area off the coast of Panama is a known source point for large earthquakes and tsunamis.

In previous years, HMCI has used the Caribe Wave exercises to test notification procedures to local residents and to validate the issuance of tsunami products from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center to the local tsunami focal point and national tsunami-warning contacts.

But given that this scenario would present enormous challenges, the goal was to use this year’s scenario to refine the response through interactive roundtable discussion and a collaborative review. The hope is that participating agencies will gain a better understanding of their roles to ensure the safety of the greatest numbers of residents and visitors in the event of a tsunami.

“Although to date we have no historical record of the Cayman Islands ever being impacted by a damaging tsunami wave, we do have a responsibility to plan for that possibility,” said Tara Rivers, the minister responsible for HMCI.

“Exercise Caribe Wave will provide first responder agencies an opportunity to come together to critically examine the challenges posed by such an event and to review the current plan, the refinement of which will directly increase the likelihood that lives will be saved if a tsunami occurs.”

HMCI participates in a variety of exercises of this nature annually together with other government departments and private sector and community stakeholders to ensure an effective multi-agency response to natural disasters and critical incidents.

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Category: Science & Nature, Weather

Comments (17)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. If God forbid, this flat island suffered the least bit of a Tsunami, you wont even have time to climb the stairs let alone any mountain that doesn’t exist on this island. There is no hiding place i’m sorry to say. If there was high ground you might have a chance, as it is there’s no chance!

    • Anonymous says:

      Ahh! The next argument Alden will make for Dart’s 50 story tower. Its a tsunami shelter. Hell, he’ll probably suggest allocating government funds to it like the hurricane shelters which just happen to be recreational facilities for local churches.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We could be having little ones all the time, but there aren’t any instruments to anticipate threats, warn public (if necessary), or validate events after they’ve passed. 7.6 Mag off Honduras last January…

  3. Anonymous says:

    To be prepared, just use the more reliable earthquake and tsunami warning apps and set your own alert recipe parameters. The biggest threat for us, living on the edge of a deep, are submarine landslides from regional earthquakes whose displacement energies can travel at hundreds of miles an hour without triggering anything abnormal at any of the noaa sensor buoys along the way (and there aren’t many). If we’re going to be honest, HMCI’s two hour window ought to be more like 10-15 mins to be of any value to the public.

    #ITTT #Quakefeed. #ptwc

  4. Anonymous says:

    How can our education minister say there is no historical record of tsunamis impacting the Cayman Islands? Dr Brian Jones can show you the house-sized boulders that were hurled up from the depths and now sit hundreds of meters inland.

  5. Anonymous says:

    South Sound.. Sayonara…

    • Johnny Rotten says:

      Whole island will be wiped from the face of the earth, response will be futile, they’ll be no one left. Guess they have to create the illusion of being able to do something. Remember the “duck & cover” initiative in the USA in preparing the people for a nuclear strike, we’ll its about as ridiculous as that. Might as well put your head between your legs and kiss your a$$ goodbye. Unless you have fast access to a plane or helo your gone.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I book my spot at the top of uncle Dart tower already bobo.

  7. Armageddon says:

    My jello quivered early this morning, I’m getting worried.
    Could Tara please also plan for an asteroid strike on the Government Admin Building, this is just as likely, and we should be prepared for the loss of all our decision makers.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What then if a tsunami decides to come on a quiet day? We all just have to die?


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