Increasing preparedness in communities

Chairman of the St. James Central DEO, Selwyn Brooks

The emergency management environment is more complex now than before, and one of the most active district emergency organisations is planning a full stretch of programmes this year aimed at increasing the preparedness of the communities.

Chairman of the St. James Central DEO, Selwyn Brooks, told members at the annual general meeting last evening that today’s volunteers had to “negotiate a maze of relationships, reputations, lack of resources and accommodation, few training opportunities, lack of recognition and appreciation for work successfully implemented”.

“To lead a DEO today therefore demands a change in our thinking on how we operated in the past. We now need decisive leadership, innovation, creativity, flexible negotiation, improvisation, strategic vision and planning.

“The emergency environment has become increasingly more complex, and DEO chairpersons and members will have to work among a diverse and ever expanding range of organisations and events, managing ever increasing community expectations and scrutiny and some associated political implications,” he said.

Brooks said over the past year the DEO had done mass casualty and first aid training, shelter management training, damage assessment, training in the safe use of a donated chainsaw, amended the by laws, added to the cadre of members trained in radio operations and added 20 new members.

One of the prides, he noted, was the fact that they had done a number of projects mapping the risk assessment and disaster resilience of two neighbourhoods, Redman’s Village and Holetown Sunset Crest, with plans for an even bigger study this year.

Additionally, the chairman said they were launching a HELP sign project by the end of next month to assist residents with information on how to access emergency personnel when needed and they were making preparations to host three training sessions for the business sector, the first of which will focus on the new Safety and Health at Work Act.

Community emergency response and first aid training courses were also on the cards, along with a school quiz among the three primary schools in the catchment area.

The biggest project though will be a resilience study of the Batts Rock to Paynes Bay area to identify and plot challenges and strengths in these community in the event of an emergency. (LB)

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