Regional Forces Ready To Tackle Any Disaster

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Soldiers prepare a command post as part of Exercise Tradewinds 2012. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Regional security forces are now in a better position to tackle any disaster that might strike the region.??As part of Exercise Tradewinds 2012, several government and regional agencies have been engaged in a command post exercise to beef up their response to several different potential disaster situations.

Director of the command post exercise Major Carlos Davila, of US Marine Forces South, explained aspects of the exercise during a media briefing at the Crane Beach Hotel, St. Philip yesterday.

According to him, the training was geared towards improving the cooperation among the forces by practising scenarios that would "prompt the Barbados government to seek the assistance of the Regional Security System (RSS)".

Major Davila added: "One of the main objectives of the exercise is to enhance that interoperability between Barbados and those other island nations that would come to Barbados as part of the RSS, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMS) and several government ministries."

Emphasising that the region had put procedures in place to handle disasters for quite some time, he said the exercise was a tool to "further enhance or improve their procedures.?? But, the RSS and CDEMA for example, have established procedures for responding to security and disaster type relief contingencies".

On the subject of the United States’ relationship with the region, Major Davila said as a strong regional partner, the United States government was committed to supplying the requisite resources to not only strengthen the region’s capabilities, but to further build-up the existing partnership between the US and the region.

Meanwhile, Captain Junior Browne of the Barbados Defence Force, one of the exercise coordinators for Exercise Tradewinds, said the command post exercise was an opportunity for "planners, persons at the operational and strategic level, to look at our processes and procedures, to ensure that we have the right mix to get things done".

Apart from a fully operational disaster response operations centre at the Crane, there is also a joint operations centre at the Barbados Fire Service’s Airport Station, and a national emergency operations centre at the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) Headquarters at Warrens, St. Michael.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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