Being prepared for a disaster requires partnerships, teamwork and coordination.
This is according to Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Kerry Hinds who has underscored the importance of community volunteers in District Emergency Organisations and similar agencies which form an integral part of the system.
“Community volunteers assist greatly when we are preparing for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies and disasters. We at the DEM would wish to re-emphasise the need to continually build resilience at the community level,” she said.
Ms. Hinds made these comments while addressing a press conference to mark Hurricane Awareness Month being highlighted under the theme: Helping Ourselves and Our Neighbours, at the start of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season.
“We must not forget that hazards affect communities and mounting a coherent, cohesive, collective community response will go a long way in assisting the community and by extension the country when recovering quickly from any event,” she said.
The Director stressed that resilience building required inclusiveness and accessibility. “Any policies, plans and strategies should seek to address people’s realities on the ground. Such integration of these realities begins at the design level,” she explained.
Noting that that preparation was key and important for survival and recovery following a disaster, Ms. Hinds said, persons needed to be cognisant of the fact that each type of event required a different kind of preparation. But, in most cases, she added, that could pose a strain on the limited available resources.
Despite this, however, she noted that the DEM and various agencies had “busied” themselves with a number of preparedness activities over recent months.
These activities were: ensuring the readiness of the national emergency operation centres; making improvements to the multi-hazard warning and alerting system; commencing policy and legislative reviews; strengthening existing plans and protocols; exercising and training; establishing and or updating interagency agreements; planning for response; recovery and encouraging personal preparedness and assisting community volunteers/communities to get ready and stay ready.