Disaster chiefs are busy finalising preparations ahead of this year’s hurricane season which officially begins on Tuesday.
The full list of hurricane shelters is due to be published shortly with inspections of all facilities now complete. National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) staff have been assessing the shelters to ensure hand-washing stations are available to curtail Covid-19 spread. Cleaning kits will also be provided to the disaster coordinators.
NODS has acquired a number of VHF radios, satellite phones and other internet and satellite-based equipment to enhance its ability to communicate locally, with Barbuda, and also abroad.
Several training sessions and workshops have been completed with members of staff and volunteers from the 17 disaster districts, and meetings have also been held with various agencies on their preparedness for the season.
Plans and policies have been reviewed to ensure that challenging issues can be adequately addressed, such as the distribution of relief items.
The volunteer training covered basic first-aid, telecommunications, basic search and rescue, map reading and fire safety.
The national search and rescue unit was also recently certified to the standards of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group.
Efforts are also underway to provide disaster districts with community storage units – called Bokomi stations – that are equipped with emergency supplies. One of these units has been sent to Barbuda.