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Dr. Lorna Inniss speaking to the media at the CARIBWAVE 2013 briefing. To her??left is Divisional Officer of the Barbados Fire Service, Ricardo Gittens and to the right is Director of the Barbados Meteorological Service, Hampden Lovell. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??

The media will play a critical role in tsunami awareness efforts and in saving lives.

Co-Chair of the Technical Standing Committee on Coastal Hazards (TSCCH), Dr. Lorna Inniss, made this assertion during a press briefing at the Department of Emergency Management following yesterday’s Caribe Wave 2013 exercise.

"The media has a really strong role to play especially in dealing with tsunamis. We have to train them, but we also need to jointly determine what that role is mainly because we are dealing with a fast onset hazard," she said.

Dr. Inniss, also Acting Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, observed that the media in the United States was included in that country’s National Emergency Management System. "That is the only reason why when there is a tsunami warning for the US the rest of the world hears about it, and thinks it is for them," she noted.

She added that those media personnel were trained to report on tsunamis and give factual information on the hazard. "This is where we need to get to. This is where we need to work with them [the media] over a period of time, first and foremost to generate interest in the hazard, and also to make sure that they are trained," Dr Inniss asserted.

However, the TSCCH Co-chair noted that in this case the media would need to be trained to write articles in a way that did not create panic. "Because of the challenges associated with widespread panic, you don’t need any kind of hype or further excitement from the media. The messages should be factual and they should be calming because this hazard is going to create enough confusion already when it does occur," she advised.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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