Preparing for disaster

Faciliators giving a demonstration.
Faciliators giving a demonstration.

If another Arch Cot situation were to happen again, local search and rescue personnel would be “far more aware” of how to handle the challenge.

Disaster Risk Management Specialist Clive Lorde made this disclosure via telephone interview this afternoon, in light of the Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue (light level) training this week.

“We would have the experience before, so we would know what was possible … [and] this programme would provide training on international standards and technical know-how, in order to deal with it in a systematic and safest possible way.”

On August 26, 2007, an apartment building in Arch Cot, Christ Church caved in, causing the death of a family of five: Donavere Codrington, 30, his wife Cassandra, 27, and children seven-year-old Shaquanda, Shaquille, three, and one-year-old Yashiro.

In 2011, Coroner Faith Marshall-Harris oversaw an inquest into the tragedy.

Spearheaded by the USAID, this is the third time training has been done in collapsed structure search and rescue, which forms part of an urban search and rescue programme.

Facilitators from across Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Barbados trained 22 personnel from the Barbados Defence Force’s Coast Guard and Army and the Barbados Fire Service on areas that included proper tool usage, types of search patterns and dealing with victims.

Course coordinator, George Hazel, added the training was available in all Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency states, and it was hoped the training exercise could “build capacity for national, regional and international support, if required”.

The week-long training will continue with classroom and practical sessions and end with a full-length disaster simulation on Saturday afternoon. (LW)

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