There is a need for wider consultation on Barbados’ National Shutdown Procedures.
And, Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Kerry Hinds, has indicated that as with any plan or procedure, there will be a need to review it “from time to time”.
She was addressing the issue of the island’s National Shutdown Procedures during the sixth meeting of the Emergency Management Advisory Council (EMAC), at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa recently.
Noting that the policy was approved by the Cabinet of Barbados in August 2013, Ms. Hinds explained it provided for the orderly shutdown and reactivation of the country following severe weather, tropical storm or hurricane warning issued by the Barbados Meteorological Service after collaboration with the DEM.
However, the Director stressed that it was important that businesses and private sector entities ensure they had their standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place to guide them as to what they should do and cut down on any confusion should something happen.
“The shutdown should not be seen as separate and apart from the SOPs,” she emphasised, noting that it was in need of a review as areas such as employee rights matters needed to be worked through.
Amid calls from the business community for a 12-hour window to begin the shutdown procedures, Ms. Hinds reminded those present that all persons should be monitoring systems as they approached. “The instruction gives allowance for Cabinet to give specific time for the shutdown,” she said.
However, she acknowledged that at the national level there was a need for more public information about the procedure, and for improvements to the existing system.
Meanwhile, she issued the reminder that every system was different and a forecast was just that – a forecast. “We are in the hurricane season. We have to be prepared and in a constant state of readiness,” she urged.