OAS Representative describes disaster simulation exercise on Nevis as successful

Organization of American States Representative to St. Kitts and Nevis Mr. Starret Greene

NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (MAY 28, 2013) — The knowledge and technical skills of almost 133 members of the newly trained Community Disaster Response Team from the Sustainable Communities Project, entitled “Building Community Resilience One Community at a Time” were tested through a simulation exercise conducted throughout the island on May 27, 2013.

The initiative Sustainable Communities Project was sponsored by the Organisation of American States (OAS) and Helping Our People Excel (HOPE) Nevis Inc. and the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) with funding of US $50,000 by the Government of the United States of America through its State Department and its Permanent Mission to the OAS. In remarks at the end of the simulation exercise OAS Representative to St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Starret Green, who witnessed the exercise, described it as successful.

“Judged by any reasonable standard or criteria, it is fair to say that this simulation exercise was a success in a number of ways. The outcomes demonstrate quite clearly the benefits that can be derived when people work together and when people share the same goals and purpose.

A section of the Community Disaster Response Team members assemble at the Franklyn Browne Community Centre at Combermere on May 27, 2013, at the end of the one-day disaster simulation exercise

“The results of this simulation exercise also reveal the value of building institutional capacity and human resource capability,” he said.

The OAS Representative noted, that the focus of natural hazards and disaster preparedness and response are most times directed at the national level but the exercise showed how critical it was to harness the talent, skills experience and knowledge which existed at the community level as far as matters related to natural hazards and disaster preparedness, response and mitigation were concerned.

“Community residents are the guardians of their space; they are the guardians of their possessions and they are the guardians of one another,” he said.

A multiple vehicle accident simulation exercise at River Path in Gingerland on May 27, 2013

Mr. Greene told the participants that the knowledge they had gained and the information they had acquired from the training had undoubtedly served them well during the simulation. He explained that they had done well when they were given the opportunity to use the expert instructions they had received in Fire Safety, Light Search and Rescue, Standard First Aid, CPR, Disaster Management, Team Dynamics, Communication and Disaster Psychology.

Based on what he had witnessed he stated that he was persuaded that the experience would serve the participants well and the five parishes on Nevis would be the beneficiary.

“I contend that being prepared to address everyday challenges in life is a good thing. Being prepared to face a threat is always a wise thing but being prepared to effectively deal with emergencies, natural hazards and disasters is an equally good thing,” he said.

A victim is taken away from the scene by members of the Community Disaster Response Team during a multiple vehicular accident simulation exercise at River Path in Gingerland on May 27, 2013

Mr. Greene also used the opportunity to register his organisation’s gratefulness to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) for their support for the simulation exercise.

“I wish to use this occasion to say the OAS is pleased that the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency has agreed to support this simulation exercise, through the expert involvement of Brigadier General [Retired] Earl Arthurs who is an Emergency Operations Specialist and Mrs. Claudine Roberts, Community Disaster Planning Specialist.

“The presence of these two CDEMA officials with proven expertise, a wealth of experience and recognised regional know-how in the area of Natural disaster Preparedness, Response, Mitigation and Recovery adds tremendous credibility and status to this event today… I wish to express my profound appreciation for your involvement,” he said.

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