Chief Executive Officer of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), Major General (Ret’d) Rodney Smart, has challenged disaster management stakeholders to upgrade their respective agencies’ emergency plans, standard operational procedures and practices, ahead of the impending Wet/Hurricane Season.

The ODPM CEO chaired a strategy planning and preparation workshop for the upcoming Wet/Hurricane Season, with key national disaster management agencies on Thursday 14th May 2020.

The interactive training session, which blended online and live participants at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) in Tacarigua, focused on a Whole-of-Society approach to improving national disaster readiness and response.

A release from the ODPM notes that the discussions were shaped and informed by the advisory issued by the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Services (TTMS) earlier this week, that the country should expect an above-normal Wet/Hurricane Season. This season officially commences on June 1, 2020 and lasts for six months until November 30, 2020.

The ODPM points out that the COVID-19 pandemic have made this year’s preparations particularly challenging. During the session, participants were presented with various scenarios that were initiated by a devastating hurricane impacting both islands and causing widespread damage, against the backdrop of the pandemic.

The release reports that participants were required to present their respective organisations’ pre, during and post impact preparation and response actions to the various accompanying hazards such as torrential rainfall, storm surges, coastal erosion, landslides, flooding and power outages. Throughout the process, peers critically and creatively analysed each other’s plans leading in the end, to a more integrated and synergistic approach to disaster management at the national level.

Attending the workshop were representatives from the Defence Force; Police Service; Fire Service; Disaster Management Units of the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government; Tobago Emergency Management Agency, Meteorological Services; and the Water Resources Agency.