Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Kerry Hinds, speaking to the media during the exercise on Saturday. (GP)

Cabinet has approved the Comprehensive Disaster Management Work Programme for the period 2019 to 2023, identifying five priority areas of focus.

Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Kerry Hinds, pointed out that those areas are: institutional strengthening; preparedness, response and mitigation capacity; strengthening community resilience; research and knowledge management and recovery.

Ms. Hinds highlighted these areas as she addressed the opening ceremony of Exercise Montgomery, a radio simulation exercise for members of the District Emergency Organisations (DEOs), at Queen’s College, last Saturday.

The Director stated that the exercise, which saw 104 DEOs participating, contributed to two of the five priority areas – strengthening operational readiness and community resilience mechanism.

“Exercise Montgomery highlights another essential element in the process of perfecting operational readiness. The importance of validating emergency management plans and training initiatives through exercises and real-life emergencies help to highlight lessons learnt,” she said.

She added that the exercise also allowed DEOs and other stakeholders to test their strengths and weaknesses in emergency response, and isolate areas for improvement.

Noting that 29 out of the 30 DEOs were now active, Ms. Hinds said the activity allowed participants to focus on discussions that would see them familiarising themselves with their roles and responsibilities, through various scenarios.

“These volunteer engagement sessions are a deliberate attempt in increasing participation of community stakeholders, and sharing emergency management knowledge,” she noted.

Ms. Hinds stressed that it was important to strengthen systems and organisations to deal with hazards that are likely to affect the island.

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