President of the Roving Response Team, Ricardo Patrick, and Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Kerry Hinds, signing the MOU last Friday. (DEM)

A 27-year-old relationship between the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) and the Roving Response Team (RRT) was solidified with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last Friday.

Director of the DEM, Kerry Hinds, and President of the RRT, Ricardo Patrick, signed the MOU during a ceremony at the DEM’s new office in the Greaves Building at No. 24 Warrens Industrial Park, Warrens, St. Michael.

“The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding is to describe and delineate the areas of cooperation between the Department of Emergency Management and the Roving Response Team.

“We are signing this document to explore further opportunities in terms of capacity building; to share expertise and skills in the area of comprehensive disaster management by various means, including training opportunities; the exchange of technical expertise [and] technical cooperation. We [will also] continue to utilise the services of the Roving Response Team as the first responders in communities in Barbados,” Ms. Hinds explained.

The Director said that there was a need for capacity building at each phase of the disaster management cycle, which encompassed mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, to achieve comprehensive disaster management.

This, she said, was important to building a more resilient Barbados through a consultative, proactive and participatory process.

“We cannot attain this feat alone. Partnering with organisations such as the Roving Response Team supports our efforts, as I am sure they also appreciate the vision of a more resilient Barbados,” she said, adding that the DEM welcomed the commitment and dedication of the RRT.

Mr. Patrick gave the assurance of the continued commitment of the team to the national emergency management system, noting that they were looking forward to a fruitful and mutually beneficial partnership.

As a team, we try to do as much training as possible to prepare the public. There are a lot of little things that the public should be doing for their own benefit …. We try to do as much training internally with the help of DEM,” he said.

He added that the RRT was also supplying training for District Emergency Organisations to assist them in preparing their communities to respond to disaster.

The RRT is celebrating its 27th anniversary of community response.

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