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NEMO, RSS prepare workplaces for earthquake response

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The first of two days of training was held at the Old Montrose Police Station on Wednesday, September 22, to prepare public servants, telecommunications workers, and voluntary organizations to effectively respond to earthquakes.{{more}}

This training, called “Unity Exercise (UNEX) 2010”, is being collaborated by the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) and the Regional Security System (RSS).

The main feature of the exercise was a tabletop earthquake simulation which provided participants with all the necessary tools for their roles in an earthquake.

Superintendent of Police, Artis Davis, Supervisor of the Unity Exercise, said that the training will build capacity in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for persons to respond effectively in emergency situations.

Davis said one of the objectives of the exercise is to identify areas for improvement, change opportunities into strengths, and weaknesses into opportunities.

He added that Vincentians are somewhat complacent in their preparation for disasters given the fact that they have not been affected by such an incident in recent time.

Director of NEMO Michelle Forbes said that the exercise will provide an opportunity for persons, who participated in a previous two week workshop, to put the knowledge into practice.

She also expressed gratitude to the RSS for collaborating with NEMO on Unity Exercise 2010.

Unity Exercise 2010 will be evaluated by four persons, one of which is a representative from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Barbados.

Ian King, Evaluator, UNDP, said that their roles were not to find faults but rather to observe how well the systems worked and to suggest ways to improve them. The team will also identify challenges so as to learn from them.

The earthquake tabletop simulation exercise has four stages: the actual earthquake, the initial stage, the response stage, and long term recovery. The earthquake exercise climaxed with a field simulation at Calliaqua.