Director of DEM, Kerry Hinds, addressing participants at the closing session of the training project on Saturday. (GP)

Members of the northern District Emergency Organisations (DEOs) are now better equipped to activate and run an emergency operations centre within their community, in the event of an emergency or disaster.

This follows training hosted by the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) under the seven million Euros project – Strengthening the Preparedness and Response Capacity of the Northern District Emergency Organisations: St. Lucy, St. Peter and St. James.

The project was sponsored by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), with funding through the European Union Country Directed Fund.

Speaking during the closing ceremony last Saturday, DEM Director, Kerry Hinds, indicated that the training represented the implementation of the Barbados Country Work Programme, which formed part of its Comprehensive Disaster Management strategy.

Describing the training as an example of “resilience in action”, Ms. Hinds said it allowed participants to build capacity, leverage partnerships, and build international cooperation.

The Director urged participants to share the knowledge gained with others in their communities, and to continue to hold exercises to practise what they learnt.

Ms. Hinds stressed that building resilience was a key element across the entire disaster management system.  “You are a part of that resilience in action. You are our eyes and ears on the ground,” she said.

The Director also thanked donors who collaborated with the DEM, at the national level, to make the training possible.

Project Coordinator, and representative from CDEMA, John “Ricky” Wilson, gave the assurance that members of other DEOs would be trained in Emergency Operation Centre Management.

He added that radio equipment ordered under the project was on the way, and would be distributed to those trained, when it arrives.

Course Facilitator, Brigadier General (retired), Earl Arthurs, said the DEO members were now equipped to set up and operate an emergency operations centre efficiently and effectively. 

“With time and practice, you will get better,” he advised. DEO Coordinator, Selwyn Brooks, also urged the participants to put what they learnt into practice, and to share their knowledge with others to continue capacity building. 

“An untrained person reacts; a trained person responds,” Mr. Brooks said.

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