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Shutdown procedures revised

There should be no confusion this hurricane season about when Barbadians should resume work following a storm-triggered islandwide shutdown.

Cabinet has agreed to a revised national shutdown procedure which has given the last say to the Department of Emergency Management (DEM)-based National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) which will determine when the all-clear is given.

The disclosure came today from DEM director Judy Thomas at a Press conference to mark the start of the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

“The NEOC will issue the shutdown and they will issue the reactivation. It will be given in a situation where it will be a warning mechanism for every single person or every single corporate entity to activate their systems,” she said, explaining that this was done to address concerns about when work should resume and when the country would be reactivated after the system’s passage.

“We have ensured that in the new policy which would be widely circulated that aspect has been laid to rest.”

The move was made in response to concerns last July that after the passage of Tropical Storm Chantal, some employers were called back to work before the DEM had given the green light.

Meantime, Thomas noted that  while the function of the NEOC was to activate the warning system, the onus would be on individuals, homeowners, communities and corporate entities to create their own procedures.

Thomas added that with a quiet season being projected, the DEM will be spending the time reviewing its procedures to see how it can develop new mechanisms and how others can be maintained.

Nine storms, three hurricanes and one major hurricane are predicted for this hurricane season, which officially got under way on Sunday, June 1, and runs until November 30.

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