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Always be prepared, Barbadians urged

Barbadians are not being proactive on disaster preparedness.

This was asserted by Senior Field Investigator with the Barbados Statistical Service, Wayne Davis.

He made this observation while pointing out that there needs to be greater focus on simulations, briefings and continued updates for members of the public on what they need and should do in the event of a disaster.

“What has been happening is that because we have been spared [from hurricanes and other natural disasters] so often, there is a sense of complacency in Barbados in general,” he lamented.

Davis was speaking ahead of the upcoming Damage Assessment Training Workshop, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday at the Gill and Gollop Community Centre, St. John’s Parish Church, beginning at 9 a.m.

Stressing that the workshop would be beneficial to Barbadians by helping them realise that it was important to “always be ready,” he said: “Simply put, education is the key and the reality is it will take something serious to happen for people to wake up.”

Chairperson of the St. John District Emergency Organisation, John Haynes, also bemoaned the fact that persons were still complaining about going to the supermarket and then “nothing happened”.

He said: “In reality you should be preaching to the converted because when it comes to the hurricane season you are telling people to stock up on non-perishable foods… Do not have your refrigerator over stocked with meat and so on, and yet, people ignore these things.

Persons need to be more aware and do the things they know they should do when the hurricane season approaches. That is the reality of it,” he declared.

Haynes underscored that it was his hope that out of the workshop persons would understand the necessity to be prepared, and they would get persons who were willing to volunteer and come forward to assist with the process of damage assessment.

“We may also do some follow up workshops, things like assisting with feeding and distribution. We may not be able to get assistance from central areas but if you have a core of trained persons within a parish then you could get supplies from shops until you are able to get help from the outside…

“Within the parish of St. John we have spoken to a number of shopkeepers who are willing to assist us once they have stock… We have a feeding team and we have also tapped into those persons who work with the School Meals Department in terms of helping at schools with the distribution of meals and that sort of thing,” he stated.

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