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Emergency Procedures

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Tsunami/Earthquake Procedures


On 28 January 2020 the largest earthquake in the Caribbean since 1946 took place, with a magnitude of 7.7 Mw. While fortunately there was no major injuries or large-scale property damage, several sinkholes opened up and some of the roads cracked. There were also several aftershocks in the following hours and days, including one with a magnitude of 6.1 Mw, although most of the later aftershocks were not noticed by residents.

Earthquakes bring up several potential hazards that you should be aware of:

  • Falling objects and debris, including walls, buildings and power/transmission lines
  • Shattering glass windows/mirrors
  • Ruptured gas, sewage or water lines
  • Tsunamis

Minor tremors do occur within the region every few years and are usually unnoticed or insignificant; however, it is possible for a major earthquake to strike at any time and so it is important to be prepared.

In the event of an earthquake it is important to note that the fire alarm will not sound and that you may not realise that the earthquake is happening straight away. We ask that all tenants follow the steps outlined below to assist in responding in the safest possible manner.

During an earthquake:

In the event of an earthquake, all tenants are asked to follow these steps:

INSIDE: If you are inside a building:

  • Drop – get down low to the ground as soon as possible, do not try to go very far and stay away from windows and exterior doors.
  • Cover – place yourself under or beside an object that is higher than you, such as a table, and cover the back of your neck with one arm.
  • Hold – hold onto the item that you are under or beside with one hand, the other covering the back of your neck, so that if the item you are sheltering by/under moves you can move with it and maintain cover.

Do not brace yourself under a doorway. This can lead to smashed or broken fingers if the doors swing open/shut and you are more vulnerable to flying or falling objects, a common source of earthquake-related injuries.

OUTSIDE: If you are outside, get into an open space away from buildings, trees and utility wires.

IN A VEHICLE: If you are in a vehicle, bring the vehicle to a stop in an open space if possible and put on the parking brake. Do not stop on or under a bridge, tree, light post or sign. Stay inside the vehicle and wait for the shaking to stop.


Dart Real Estate (DRE) will implement the following steps:

  • Make contact with Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) for details on their recommended next steps based on tsunami alerts (if any.)
  • Dispatch resources to visually inspect each building and confirm suitability for occupancy should a tsunami alert be issued.
  • Depending on the severity of the earthquake, tenants should plan for their workflow to be interrupted until a structural engineer can give conceptual approval for their building to be reoccupied while a detailed review is conducted over time.
  • Tenants should always plan to go to higher grounds after an initial earthquake and follow all subsequent tremors until an all-clear is issued by HMCI.

Best practices to follow post-earthquake:


  • Do not use the elevators to do so, use only the stairs and fire escapes.
  • Do not go back inside until instructed to do so. There may be structural damage to the building that needs to be assessed to ensure the property is safe to re-enter. Aftershocks have the potential to bring further damage and/or collapse.
  • Avoid any exposed electrical wiring.
  • Listen for instructions from your Emergency Warden who will relay communications from Property Management on safe options to consider that are available should a tsunami alert be issued.


  • Avoid exposed electrical wiring or downed power lines.
  • Keep away from buildings with visibly severe damage.
  • Go to your designated assembly point so that everyone can be accounted for by the Emergency Wardens and listen for further instructions as if a tsunami warning is issued you may be required to move to an alternative location.


  • Stop.
  • Get out once the shaking has stopped and check the condition of the road where you are and inspect the vehicle for faults.
  • If possible, drive slowly and carefully to your office, home or other destination, watching out for sinkholes, road defects, downed power lines, traffic light outages and emergency service vehicles.

After an earthquake, many lines of communication may go down, however company communications will be used to disseminate information as communication channels allow.

Your Property Manager, under the advice of Dart’s Crisis Management Group, will assess the situation and will issue timely instructions, updates and all-clears as appropriate via email, telephone, instant messaging or in person.


Following the earthquake on 28 January 2020, a tsunami warning was issued to the public by HMCI just nine minutes later following notification from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (the official source for tsunami information for the Caribbean). Fortunately, only a 1.5-foot wave was recorded in the George Town Harbour about an hour after the earthquake and the all-clear was given approximately 30 minutes after this.

The risk to the Cayman Islands may be considered less than some places due to the deep waters of the Cayman Trench, which acts as a natural defence (meaning that a wave doesn’t have as much time to build up over shallow waters before impacting the shoreline.) However, the risk of a tsunami is still high, with the potential for severe consequences, both in terms of loss of life and property damage, particularly given Cayman’s largely flat terrain.

Given that an earthquake may well be followed very quickly by a tsunami warning, it is important to quickly identify where an appropriate place to wait is for an all-clear to be given. Due to the potentially short timelines involved it could involve re-entering the building that you have just evacuated after an earthquake. If so, be vigilant as you re-enter for large cracks in walls, ceilings and windows/glass and stay away from those areas if they exist.

Tsunami warning

In the event of a tsunami warning, all tenants are required to follow these steps:

INSIDE: If you are inside, move from the ground floor to a higher floor. Do not re-enter your building following an earthquake unless instructed to do so by Property Management or Property Security. Do not leave until the all-clear has been issued.

OUTSIDE: If you are outside and with a group, move as a group to higher ground or to a high floor of a building. If you are near the sea/beach move as far inland as quickly as possible.

IN A VEHICLE: If you are in a vehicle, drive the vehicle safely to higher ground. Do not drive into a parking garage to protect your vehicle as the structure could be compromised. It is recommended that you exit the vehicle on ground level and enter the parking garage on foot and seek higher ground.


After a tsunami, it is important to wait for an all-clear to be given. The all-clear will be given by HMCI or your property manager. Tenants are reminded to be aware of the following safe practices:

  • If you are in a DRE-managed building, wait for the all-clear to be given before you leave.
  • Try to avoid floodwaters both inside buildings and outside as they could be contaminated by oil, gasoline or sewage. The water could also be electrically charged from downed power lines. The water could also hide other hazards underneath such as sharp objects, trip hazards and holes.
  • Avoid moving water, even moving water only six inches deep can sweep you off your feet.
  • Stay aware from downed power lines and report them to Caribbean Utilities Company.
  • Stay away from designated disaster areas unless authorities ask for volunteers.

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