The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), conducted the first of its two-day Initial Damage Assessment Training workshop at the Local Government Conference Room Second Floor National Insurance Bahamas (NIB) Building on Monday, February 13.
Tammi Mitchell, NEMA Supplies Officer for Grand Bahama and Deputy Co-Chair of the Grand Bahama Disaster Consultative Committee, told this daily that the workshop is preparing participants from various government entities and the private sector, to conduct Initial Damage Assessments after a major emergency or hurricane
“You have some persons from the Ministry of Works, you have some students and teachers from BTVI, and you have a nurse from the Grand Bahama Health Services.
“You also have somebody from Customs, you have somebody from the Labour Department, you also have Ms. Russell and her crew from the Port Department,” she said.
According to Mitchell, persons from the media, specifically ZNS were in attendance as well.
She noted that about 27 persons attended the workshop, which showed that the interest is still there for the workshops.
“If you participate in the entire full days (Monday and Tuesday), then you get the certification to say that you’ve completed the course,” she said.
Mitchell explained that the group was being trained to detect the damages and weakness of various structures after they have been affected by disasters like Hurricane Matthew.
“They are learning the different levels of damages. For example if a building have structural damages with cracks.
They are learning how to tell if a bridge is washed out and is not able to be used, or if a road is impassable,” she said.
She added that participants are also learning how to collect this data properly, so that it can be passed on to the departments that would need it.
Kevin Mortimer, Superintendent of Police was the instructor for the initial damage-training portion of the workshop and he spoke positively about the participants.
“We have a good group of participants, very experienced and professional persons,” he said.
Mortimer explained that over the course of the two-day seminar the group would learn about dealing with risk management, vulnerability, hazards, disasters, the National Plan for The Bahamas, how to conduct initial assessments, and how to prepare yourself to conduct those assessments.
Preston Cunningham, Administrator for the City of Freeport said that the workshop was crucial to ensuring that residents could regain normalcy after a hurricane.
“I am pleased that the workshop is in place here. You will see a number of persons taking part and at the end of the day, I can feel proud that should there be a disaster we will have a number of persons to assist in the initial assessment,” he said.
Mitchell encouraged all residents to sign up for workshops like this, because their training could be used in other countries in the Caribbean Region such as Grenada, St. Kitts, and St. Lucia.
She added, “we are now two months into the New Year and since the passing of Hurricane Matthew, it is important to ensure that there are trained persons on island, who can be called upon to assist when and if the need arises.”
Published Tuesday, February 14, 2017