The training is being supported by the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) Regional Risk Reduction Initiative (R3I) which covers seven English and Dutch overseas countries and territories in the Caribbean Basin (Anguilla, Aruba, BES Islands (Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius), British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Montserrat, Sint Maarten, Turks and Caicos).
Disaster Coordinator/Fire Chief Winston Salomon says the training will further enhance the skills of current personnel from the various agencies that are participating in the aforementioned.
The Sint Maarten participants in the workshop are from the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure, Red Cross, Voluntary Korps of Sint Maarten (VKS), Fire Department, Inspectorate of Public Health, Social Services, Labour Department and the Department of Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs (CDFHA).
Shelter management falls under Emergency Support Function (ESF-7), one of 10 ESFs that are part of the Governments disaster management system.
The two trainers facilitating the workshop are Sheniah Armstrong and Robbie Lettsome from the British Virgin Islands Department of Disaster Management.
The workshop was organized to provide attendees who have responsibility for the selection, preparation and maintenance, and operational management of emergency shelters, with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform the required duties.
The performance objective given an emergency situation in which individuals and families are required to leave their homes and occupy a temporary shelter, individuals who have been given the responsibility for selecting, preparing, maintaining, operating and managing temporary shelters, will be able to determine resource needs, mobilize and secure them.
Maintain the shelter structure and equipment; prepare the shelter for use; operate the shelter with available resources; establish and maintain effective channels of communication with relevant agencies and support groups; and complete all tasks at closure.
The R3I project seeks to address the risk and exposure of small islands by providing a network of regional infrastructure, programmes, policies and protocols to strengthen their capacity to predict and prepare for natural hazards, therefore improving resilience and reduce risk and subsequent loss.
R3I is funded by the European Commission for the amount of close to five million Euros covering a period of four years and concludes December 2012.
The training is taking place at the Fire & Ambulance Building in Cay Hill.
In Photo: Participants in the shelter management training workshop on Thursday.