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DEM pleased with job

chantaltractorchainsawTropical Storm Chantal spared Barbados major headaches as she passed by this morning and emergency and meteorological officials are pleased with how they responded to her threat.

Department of Emergency Management Deputy Director, Kerry Hinds, said while the full review was to come, reports indicated that apart from some “bursts of rain”, the island was largely unscathed.

She was also happy with the communication aspect of the operation, noting that the public was well informed throughout.

Acting Director of Barbados Meteorological Services, Hampden Lovell, was also pleased that his team got it right and, like Hinds, that they followed all the required protocols and procedures.

Both officials, along with Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite, were speaking this morning after 11 a.m. when the storm warnings were discontinued and the all clear for a return to normalcy given.

“We had some feedback from the ground. In the northern sections of the island they indicated that they were having bursts of rain in those parts… We are still experiencing some moderate to heavy showers. It was mostly the effects of the rainfall, the moderate to heavy showers, no wind damage was reported,” Hinds said.

At the time of speaking, the official said the national emergency operations centre based at the DEM Warrens, St. Michael based was “going through its final briefing” and “debriefing the operatives”.

“The representatives here … would have received information from the ground and the debrief now would entail the final reports and just last minutes perspectives on the entire event because after every event we do what we call a hot wash or debriefing,” she explained.

“We would look at lessons learnt coming out of the event, what we did well, what we can improve on so the next time around we can have a better response. In terms of the lessons learnt I think we would have done a very good job of keeping persons continuously informed.

“The public knew at every step of the way where we were as it related to the operations, as it related to the systems. So going forward we would hope to continue in that same vein, the regular briefings of not only the emergency operations personnel but regular briefings and updates so that the public knows what is going on,” she said.

Lovell said he was satisfied that his department had gotten it right, noting that he personally approached the issue in a cautious manner.

“I am not one to take a lot of chances and I think the public interest is paramount for me. The model did a very good job of tracking this storm and … we were right on with when the centre would pass and I think we did a very good job,” he said.

Brathwaite too said he was satisfied that the DEM and other officials followed procedures.

“I was very pleased with what I heard and that was borne out by our friends at CDEMA in terms of our protocols, in terms of our staff coming in from last night and staying the course. I know we have had some practise … we don’t always get it perfect but I would say that I was very pleased with what I heard over the radio and on television I am certainly very pleased by the report I heard this morning,” he stated. (SC)


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