Barbados is working on developing a Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) to share messages with the population and emergency response teams during a hazard.
This was disclosed by Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Kerry Hinds, as she addressed a press conference to launch Earthquake and Tsunami Smart Month 2017 recently.
Ms. Hinds explained that the new system would allow for the dissemination of messages across multiple media platforms such as radio, television, email, as well as via sirens.
“Currently, we are working on such a system for Barbados. It is a work in progress,” she said, noting it was hoped the CAP system would be launched shortly.
Deputy Resident Representative at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Chisa Mikami, explained that the CAP served as a universal adapter for alert messages.
She noted that the system, which was endorsed by the World Meteorological Organisation, could be expanded and improved with time as local and national capacities strengthen, and confidence in the system continued to grow.
Ms. Mikami noted that the CAP system would bring a number of benefits to Barbados’ residents. These, she said, included infrastructural enhancements to the current warning system structure, including the monitoring of hazards; new methods of developing the receipt of hazard warning messages sent by authorised agencies; knowledge of risks and vulnerabilities enhanced in communities through the Vulnerability Capacity Assessment (VAC) process; and compiling a database of vulnerable persons in three communities.
“Additionally, there is a knowledge-sharing component for this entire process so that experiences and lessons learnt can be shared with our regional neighbours,” she explained.
Ms. Mikami added that the UNDP, with support from the European Union Humanitarian Aid Department and its partners, assisted communities in four Caribbean countries, including Barbados in becoming better informed about natural hazards and their vulnerability.
This year’s theme for Earthquake and Tsunami Smart month 2017 is: Be Aware, Prepare, Know What To Do: Don’t Let Earthquakes and Tsunamis Catch You Unaware.