NENS rollout to continue in New Year

| 16/12/2019 | 18 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): Government has invested heavily over the last year in improving how it communicates national emergencies, with Phase 2 of the new National Emergency Notification System (NENS) expected to be finished by the middle of next year. This includes broadening the number of channels available to disseminate emergency messages in order to reach the maximum number of individuals at once, officials said in a release.

Development of Phase I of the National Emergency Notification System began in March last year and is now fully operational. The system allows both Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) and the Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) to interrupt radio broadcasts with warning messages across all three islands in the event of a sudden onset emergency.

“Our radio interrupt system is one of the first of its kind in the Caribbean,” said DPSC Director Julian Lewis. “A lot of groundwork for the NENS was accomplished in Phase I and important lessons were learned. This will be fully leveraged as we embark on the implementation of Phase 2 of the NENS.”

The next phase involves investment in a centralised message distribution system, including the creation of a new mobile alert application. Once complete, the public will be able to download the app free of charge and receive emergency notifications directly to their phones. The new system will also enable simultaneous warning messages to be delivered via SMS, emails and social media, reducing the time to disseminate critical messages.

“We understand that more people generally have access to a mobile phone than would normally listen to the radio,” said HMCI Director Danielle Coleman. “However, a conscious decision was taken to implement radio interrupt capability in Phase 1 as it is the more robust and reliable channel.

“A battery powered radio should be part of everyone’s disaster kit as you can’t always rely on there being power or a mobile signal during an emergency. As a result, it made sense to ensure that notification via radio was the first step of the NENS that we can now expand on,” she added.

Coleman said that expanding the NENS and streamlining communications will free up first responders to focus on tackling the disaster and protecting the public. The NENS is designed to notify the public in the event of a sudden onset emergency which requires them to take immediate action to protect their safety. Should the system be deployed, the message will specify the nature of the emergency and what the public should do.

“With an emergency, reaction time is everything,” said Home Affairs Minister Tara Rivers. “The government has made a significant commitment to increasing our capability to notify and mobilise the public in an emergency as quickly as possible.”

She added, “This year and next should see a leap forward in how the country responds to disasters and how the public is informed through investments made in communication technology.”


Share your vote!


How do you feel after reading this?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , ,

Category: Local News

Comments (18)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Still dead waiting on my text from the first tsunami alert.

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS, while I appreciate your trying to draw our notice to certain items of news, the popups are getting very annoying. The accept bar is ok but the Vote No and referendum cancellation ones that pop up on every page are plain annoying!!

      CNS: The cookie bar is a legal requirement, which is why they turn up on many websites. The vote no is a paid for ad – sadly we do have to make money. The referendum cancellation is just for one day and only because it’s a matter of some importance. I take your point though.

  2. Anonymous says:

    And the last national emergency we had??

    • Anonymous says:

      The unity government.

    • Anonymous says:

      Some would argue the formation of last government in 2017 until the present!

      As for Hurricanes:

      1876 – 12th to 17th October – “All the churches and most of the houses were totally destroyed while those that remained standing were so badly damaged they were scarcely habitable. All of the vessels in the different harbours were either driven ashore or broken up. Two schooners moored in Duck Pond in the Great [North] Sound parted their moorings and broke up on the outer reef. Some portions of them were found on the shore near the South Sound after the storm. “A large foreign ship drove ashore at West Bay, with masts, deck and cargo gone; evidently she had rolled over and over.” (Jamaica Gleaner)

      1903 11th and 12th August – “The schooner Ready Call from East End brought first news of the terrible havoc wrought by the hurricane. The Captain reports that in what was once a populous district there are not three houses left standing and immense damage was done to cocoanut groves. The cyclone also visited Cayman Brac and Little Cayman inflicting considerable damage to property and causing the loss of three lives. The schooner Active, which was anchored off West End of Cayman Brac, parted her moorings and capsized, two brothers named Yates, belonging to West Bay, Grand Cayman, and a Customs Officer named William Hurlston being drowned. Their bodies were cast ashore on Little Cayman. The vessels which were driven out to sea from George Town Bay have not been heard of and grave fears are entertained as to their safety (14 died on these vessels – J.H. O’ Sullivan). At West bay two churches and fifty houses were destroyed.” (Jamaica Gleaner)

      1909 24th August – The ‘Bertha,’ a Schooner from Cayman Brac was lost at sea with all hands. 12.32 inches of rain was recorded in East End in a 24 hours period. Roads were reported to be under 3 feet of water. The schooner Blomidon wrecked at Cottage near East End but no lives were lost in this wreck. (Commissioner George Hirst)

      1910 12th and 13th October – Two Cayman Brac vessels (The ‘W. K. Merrit’ and the ‘William Bloomfield’) were lost with all hands. The Norwegian Barque, the ‘Pallas’ wrecked in South Sound but no lives were lost. Roads along the waterfront in George Town, Spotts and Red Bay were washed away. The roof of the West Bay school was carried away and the West Bay pier was demolished (Commissioner George Hirst)

      1915 13th August – (Cayman Brac) “At about 11 a.m. we had the final gathering of the clouds which brought a dense darkness as of night all over the island. The destruction of everything then came and this was completed in about 10 minutes. Everything seemed as the end of time had come. After the great darkness cleared, it was a dreadful scene to behold, the earth strewn with fallen trees and the ruins of buildings. The waves rose up like mountains and swept the entire coast. What was not carried away by them was destroyed by the terrific winds. It was a great astonishment that only two persons were killed; but a large number was injured. During the storm a large three-masted schooner called the ‘Caroso’ was thrown up against the east end of the Bluff which is about 140 feet in height. Pieces of the ship and cases of kerosene oil were found on the top of the Bluff 140 feet above the sea level after the storm.” (Jamaica Gleaner)

      1916 16th August – All the plantations destroyed on Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.

      1917 24th September – “Hundreds of people rendered homeless, all forms of vegetation blown away and every vessel at the dependency either sent to the bottom or driven ashore. The unfortunate people, scores of whom are living in caves are facing starvation. The wind blew with the utmost fury, destroying a large number of houses and sweeping away wide areas of cultivation. Two lives were lost.” (Commissioner Mr. A.C. Robinson)

      1932 7th and 8th of November – The ’32 hurricane was of outstanding violence and destruction and resulted in loss of 109 lives and the almost total demolition of houses on Cayman Brac. It began at 6 am on Monday, November 7 and lasted for 52 hours. The wind velocity was estimated at 150-200 mph, but it was the storm surge and waves that claimed most of the lives. (Colonial Report 1933)

      1935 28th September – Houses destroyed on Cayman Brac.

      1944 16th and 17th October – The velocity of the wind was estimated at 100 mph. Extensive damage to homes and Government buildings. The Government wharf at West Bay was destroyed and great destruction wrought to the front streets of Bodden Town, George Town and West Bay. All crops were completely destroyed. The schooners ‘Albion,’ ‘Gravina,’ ‘Armstice’ and Kirksons were wrecked.

      1952 24th October – Hurricane Fox pounded Grand Cayman with 120 mph winds while moving up from the south.

      1980 6th August – Hurricane Allen pounded Cayman Brac and Little Cayman with winds of 135 miles per hour. There were no casualties, but 17 houses were damaged and 70 per cent of the utility poles were down. Several government buildings and hotels were damaged.

      1988 13th September – Hurricane Gilbert caused no loss of life, but severe damage occurred to crops, pastures, and trees. Some homes were also damaged.

      2001 3rd November – Hurricane Michelle passed 130 miles away but the waves caused significant damage

      2004 11th and 12th September – Hurricane Ivan tracked just to the south of Grand Cayman with winds of 155 mph. Storm surge was estimated at 8 to 10 feet. Many homes and businesses severely damaged. Two deaths in Grand Cayman.

      2008 8th November – Hurricane Paloma hit Cayman Brac and Little Cayman with 140 mph winds resulting in extensive property damage, some injuries, but no deaths.

    • Anonymous says:

      Depends if we’re counting the false alarms we never get. We had a 5 Mag quake last week. Before that, on 9th Jan 2018, there was a 7.6 Mag quake at the Swan Islands, which triggered a PTWC tsunami warning alert for possible submarine landslides across the Caribbean…it extended from Honduras, Belize, Puerto Rico and to US Virgin Islands. We, directly in the theoretical line of fire, were skipped right over (at some senior level that call was made for us) and never received any kind of warning, or record that it had happened in hindsight.

      We live 20 miles from one of the most complicated and deep transform fault zones on the planet, with volcanic black smokers – the hottest on the planet – only just becoming known in recent years. Visiting geologists have identified house-sized blocks of rock inland from the blowholes that originated from rock deep in the ocean. How did they get there?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cayman_Trough

    • Anonymous says:

      The oil fire could have been a massive emergency in terms of people and property damafed, and infrastructure damage as well as lack of fuel for ages.

  3. Frustratedas hell says:

    The Civil Service needs to focus on non emergency communications. Yesterday I tried calling 4 departments and got voice mail each time. I then tried calling the Admin Bldg on 9497900 and selecting 0 for the operator got guess what? voice mail. I returned to the menu and selected the Dep Governor’s office and tried 4 different extensions from the menu and got VOICE MAIL on each occasion.
    I called GIS which is the only dept that ever answers their phone and the lady gave me the number of Mr Manderson’s P.A., I called that number and you can all guess the result.
    This problem has existed for decades and Mr Manderson really needs to get to grips with it. Civil servants are paid for doing their job which includes answering phone calls from other than their friends or in connection with their private businesses.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s a counter-service, low performance ethos, fueled by extraordinary levels of job security, and abnormal sense of self-importance. They are probably sitting there on DND while the phone rings through to voice mail. They get paid either way. When I worked on a bond desk, if a phone audibly rang more than twice, the entire open office plan would swivel and the person closest to the offending ringing phone would be fired by the floor boss, then and there. As in: get out now, we will mail you your stuff. Few exceptions.

  4. Kim says:

    Ho Ho Ho
    Past experience shows that events are over by the time there is an official notification!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t there be a simple opt-in app with push notifications immediately? As is typical for this government: why spend $5k on a simple update-able app that works, when you can spend $5mln to do the same thing years from now, and pretend that the $4,995,000 were development costs?

    • Anonymous says:

      Like the Police app.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, or why not collaborate with the RCIPS, and their existing app? So many siloed, non-cooperative bureaucrats, unwilling to share, all seeking their own replicated budget to blow through.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just so we’re clear: this isn’t an early warning system, it’s a weak post-disaster crowd management tool for those stunned octogenarians still trying to obey the law. Even then, what kind of radio broadcast capabilities can we realistically expect to have after a Cat 5 storm? How many days of batteries are people supposed to have? Does anyone sell radios anymore? 15 years ago, post Ivan, we coordinated private charter jet-loads of disaster first response teams on ATVs, with palettes of supplies, like clean water, and we evacuated employees and families – all by cellphone (for which, even then, there were/are multiple transceivers, not singular broadcast towers and inundation-prone facilities). That was 15years ago. Anyone waiting for this government to correctly anticipate or resolve your problems post-disaster, or in a real life-and-death emergency, has my deepest sympathies. It is clear they haven’t learned anything, even after having lived through it once.

  7. Anonymous says:

    a waste of time and money in the 21st century.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I wa gine cuss if no SMS function was included. Can get 10 texts from flow a day asking me to gamble for a boat but no notification to say I needed that boat for the incoming tsunami!

  9. Anonymous says:

    A least they might be able to give a 2 minute warning to put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.

  10. Anonymous says:

    As long as we don’t start getting un-silencable amber alerts at 3 am noting a runaway has skipped school again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.