Some persons are not taking disaster preparedness as seriously as they should.

This is the view of Chairperson of the St. James Central District Emergency Organisation (DEO), Selwyn Brooks. He made this assertion at the Annual General Meeting of the St. James Central (DEO), last Sunday at the Tamarind Cove Hotel.

While delivering the Chairman’s report, Mr. Brooks questioned how equipped Barbados’ response and recovery mechanism would be if impacted by any major hazard.?? "Our disaster planning, preparedness, response and recovery processes have continued to [reflect] complacency," he contended.

According to him, the DEOs form a vital part of the Department of Emergency Management’s community response mechanism and the St. James DEO was working to raise the awareness level of its constituents.??

"The DEO has completed a community profile which has provided us with vital information.?? Shelter capacity, however, for the densely and vulnerable communities of Redmans Village, Arch Hall and Hoytes and Fitts Village, in particular, is of great concern to us.?? Thus, we will continue to work with the Government agencies and the many stakeholders to reduce those vulnerabilities identified in the community profile," he revealed.??

Mr. Brooks also pointed out that the DEO had conducted a business sector risk assessment and had identified varied levels of risk on the west coast. He called for a tripartite approach to help resolve the inconvenience and threats of water being collected in the Holetown Lagoon and to the surrounding properties and coastline.??

"The establishment of the Holetown Strategic Emergency Planning Committee has been successful in bringing the representatives of the business sector, government departments, property owners, and the hotel sector to address several issues impacting Holetown and its environs," he stated.

The Chairman also reported that a course in CPR and First Aid is scheduled to commence in February in collaboration with the St. John Ambulance Brigade. Other courses scheduled for this year are:?? Safe Handling of Chainsaws, Road Clearance and Traffic Control, Shelter Management, Mapping and Community Profiling, Radio and Communication Message Handling, Care of the Disabled, Evacuation Procedures, Hazard Analysis at the Community level and Incident Command.??

Also speaking that evening was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, Freundel Stuart, who presented token awards to two students of Queen’s College, Anisa Anderson and Melanie Ann Holder.?? The students participated in a recently held essay competition to mark World Environment Day. Their essays on the topic The Implications of Climate Change to Small Island Developing States will shortly be placed on the DEO’s website

The St. James Central area includes over 12,000 residents, 28 hotels, 48 large properties, four gas stations and 32 churches.

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