Shelter managers training workshop concludes today

POSTED: 06/15/12 12:36 PM

Participants in the shelter management training workshop on Thursday. (DCOMM Photo)

GREAT BAY – St. Maarten is hosting a three-day shelter managers training workshop that started on Wednesday and concludes today. 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, St. Maarten, Turks and Caicos). The training is taking place at the Fire & Ambulance Building in Cay Hill.

The training will further enhance the skills of current personnel from the various agencies. The St. Maarten participants are from the Ministry of Public Housing, Physical Development, Environment and Infrastructure, Red Cross, Voluntary Korps of St. 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 government’s disaster management system. Sheniah Armstrong and Robbie Lettsome of the British Virgin Islands Department of Disaster Management are facilitating the workshop.

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. The participants will also be able to 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, programs, 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 euro covering a period of four years and concludes December 2012.

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