Be prepared for a medical emergency during hurricane season
Emergency Medical Centres (EMCs)
Cayman Islands Health Services Authority facilities, including district health centres, are not general hurricane shelters for the public. If you need shelter, please go to a district hurricane shelter. The Cayman Islands Hospital is not a shelter.
There are seven Emergency Medical Centres (EMCs):
- Prospect Primary School
- West Bay Primary School
- North Side Civic Centre
- Bodden Town Primary School
- Clifton Hunter High School
- East End Civic Centre
- Savannah Primary School
These centers will be used to provide medical services during a hurricane and are equipped to provide care shelter with appropriate bedding, staffing, equipment, power sources, and supplies for patients in the community who need some assistance with their daily activities. If a caregiver is needed, the caregiver from the home is expected to accompany and remain with the person at the shelter. Persons who go to the EMC should take their medication and any other required supplies with them.
Persons who should go to EMCs:
- Oxygen dependant* in the home
- Ventilator dependant* in the home
- Wheelchair-bound persons with medical needs
- Individuals with severely reduced mobility
- Persons with mental illness who are non-violent
- Medically impaired individuals who are able to maintain activities of daily living with special assistance, such as:
- Partial paralysis
- Persons with dementia who cannot be maintained at a regular shelter;
EMCs will be used to provide care in the community after a hurricane should the Health Centres and/or Hospitals be affected or roads remain impassable.
Criteria for admission to hospital:
These individuals require recurring professional medical care, special medical equipment and/or continual medical surveillance and must be considered for admission into a hospital:
- Pregnant women who are experiencing contractions and women who are in their seventh month or beyond should contact their physician for guidance and possible referral to hospital for admission during the hurricane or tropical storm
- Persons requiring continuous IV therapy (pain control or hydration);
- Persons who report chest pain or have experience chest pain the last 24 hours
- Persons with shortness of breath
- Persons who have already experienced a potentially serious injury and have not been evaluated by a physician
- Persons with communicable diseases which require isolation
- Uncontrollable or violent persons
- Persons with infected wounds
- Others requiring the intensity of services provided at a hospital or Skilled Nursing Facility
- Wear a face mask in all shelters
- Bring along disposable wipes and hand sanitizer
- Practice safe social distancing of 6 ft
- Practice proper respiratory etiquette
- If you are a COVID-19 Positive person, a Public Health Nurse will be in contact with you as to where you should go
Emergency Medical Services (EMS):
- Emergency medical treatment is available at the Cayman Islands Hospital and at all designated Emergency Medical Centres located in public shelters.
- During a hurricane, emergency calls are responded to on an individual basis depending on risk assessment. Treatment should only be sought for medical emergencies
- EMS vehicles do not operate in tropical force winds, which are deemed unsafe for you and the EMS responders.
- Label and secure all important medications in a watertight storage container so they can be readily available and easy for the EMS responders to find.
- To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, generators must be properly vented and should not be used indoors or in confined spaces.
Instructions to residents about making their house numbers visible for 911 (eg on shutters):
Your street address numbers are so much more than aesthetics, they ensure that police, firefighters, paramedics or animal control are able to find you as quickly as possible, day or night, when in crisis.
- If you live in a single-family house, your address numbers should be placed on or beside the front door and big enough to see at night, contrasting in color, lit or reflective.
- If your door is not within view, attach numbers on a post, front gate, fence or a tree at the driveway entrance.
- Always keep objects, such as parked vehicles, play equipment or seasonal décor from obscuring the view of your house number.
- Protect your medications by securing them in an airtight, watertight plastic container, or a zip-lock bag.
- During hurricane season, always ensure that you have an extra 2 week’s supply of your current medication.
- Keep these additional medications in the container and do not use them, unless necessary. Use any additional medications at the end of the hurricane season.
- Store medications in a cool, dry place and only refrigerate those labeled ‘for the fridge’ or ‘refrigerate’.
If overseas treatment is needed
Don’t be caught empty-handed when illness or disaster strikes – having the right documentation can save your life!
- Even when URGENT medical care is needed, immigration authorities still require the proper documentation. Without it, most countries will refuse admission.
- Always have travel documents for yourself and your family in order – it can be critical to saving precious lives:
- Ensure that you have the correct and valid travel documents such as a passport and visa to enter the US, UK, Jamaica or any other likely destination*;
- Check the expiration date of your passport and visa(s) – you should have at least six months left before the expiration date;
- If you hold a Caymanian passport, contact the Passport Office to have your passport renewed if not current; For queries relating to your visa and or passport requirements please contact the Passport Office directly at (345) 949-8344 option 6.
- Ensure that your health insurance premiums are paid and current.
Recommendations for vulnerable patients
Instructions to expectant mothers
- Pregnant women who are experiencing contractions and women who are in their seventh month (Third trimester) or beyond should contact their physician for guidance and possible referral to hospital for admission if a hurricane or tropical storm threatens.
- Women in late pregnancy who are evacuating should take with them a copy of their prenatal care record and immunizations, as well as their birth bag. They should also bring a two weeks’ supply of any medications, including prenatal vitamins and prescriptions.
- Do everything you can to reduce stress, which is a major factor in preterm labor. By planning and preparing early, you can help reduce stress levels.
Instructions to Oncology patients
- Oncology/Hematology patients who are receiving active treatment should contact the Chemotherapy Unit at 244-2872 immediately and make arrangements
Instructions to Dialysis patients
- All dialysis patients should immediately make contact with the dialysis unit at 244-2769 or 244-2624 to make arrangements to be dialyzed.