EOC Training Planned for Participants of National Exercise

NEMA Headquarters

The process of updating the National Plan is to receive a much-anticipated boost with the execution of a simulation exercise, designed to test aspects of the Plan, next week.

This ‘test’ will be preceded by a two-day workshop, designed to bring participants up to speed on the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) procedures, enabling their capacity to respond effectively in crisis mode. The workshop is slated for 17th to 18th October, 2012 at the NEOC at NEMA Headquarters, Lime Kiln.

It seeks to prepare participants for their respective roles in the event of disaster through a variety of actions aimed at:

i. Enhancing the capacity of NEMA’s technical staff, NEOC Operators and Key Agencies on the Role, Responsibilities and Functions of the NEOC and the Nevis EOC;

ii. Developing their understanding of the roles and functioning of NEMA, Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM); and

iii. Boosting the capacity of NEMA for the development and execution of EOC simulation exercises.

The Plan has been under review since 2010, as a result of an intervention by the CDEMA, through the ACP-EU’s Disaster Risk Management Sub-regional Programme. The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis was among ten (10) CDEMA Participating States, to receive assistance to engage in the process of National Disaster Plan Revision, at that time.

The activity was divided into three parts:

1) Assessment visit and meeting with key stakeholders;
2) Orientation Seminar and table-top exercise; and
3) Full Scale or Functional Exercise to test revised National Disaster Plan.

The ‘Exercise’ commences the final phase of the review and revision assessment via a national evaluation to identify gaps and address them before submission to the Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis for approval. A Preparatory Planning Committee was formed to plan the event through the continued support of CDEMA and the sub-committees and NGOs who make up its response mechanism.

National Disaster Coordinator, Carl Herbert, has said that success of this ‘functional exercise’ intends to assist the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in effectively assessing the complex and multi-faceted nature of the response capacities and mandates of each of the agencies involved in a national crisis situation. It also aims to encourage discussions to address potential vulnerabilities in the National Disaster Plan, in order to sharpen critical problem-solving and decision-making skills that may help participants prevent emergency situations or to deal effectively with such events, should they arise.

Already, a two member Team from CDEMA comprising General Earl Arthurs, Preparedness and Contingency Specialist and Miss Sarah Lionel, Senior Programme Officer, have conducted the first and second missions to NEMA of St. Kitts and the Nevis Disaster Management Department (NDMD) between August of 2010 and 2011.

The purpose of those missions was to perform a reconnaissance of the national disaster management system in St. Kitts & Nevis by assessing the infrastructure, by meeting and discussing with key stakeholders, reviewing the most recent draft of the National Disaster Plan and providing assessment and feedback on everything from staffing challenges to infrastructural needs and hindrances.

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