St, Lucia News Online:
The Ministry of Health and Wellness, with the support of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), is making a deliberate attempt to strengthen potential gaps in communication services provided during and after hurricanes.
NEMO Director, Velda Joseph, said proper emergency communication measures can guard against severe loss.
“When you have serious events, traditional communication like fixed-lines, and mobile phones do not always stand up. We saw it in Grenada; we saw it in recently Dominica. In fact, research shows that throughout the region, there are issues with communication after serious weather events. So we believe that we need to ensure our population is aware of and can be competent in emergency radio communication, which is cheaper than having to use satellite communication or even the Behan, so that in the event of any natural weather events, the agencies of the government can communicate with each other.
“Radio communication is also one of the most effective ways in which our districts can provide us with information, and it is one of the best ways to glean information for our donors, to let them know what our immediate needs are.”
It is against this background that staff of the Saint Lucia National Mental Wellness Centre, via the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) received certificates for completing a training session in radio communication.
Serona Leonce, chair of the Wellness Centre Disaster Committee, said the workshop participants came from all sections of the Wellness Centre.
Facilitator Lionel Ellis, explained why it was important to have participants from every department.
“You see you never know who survives an incident so all persons must be trained,” he explained. “They must know how to switch on the radio, how to communicate, how to get the message out or even how to receive a message, which is key.”
The Ministry is spearheading efforts in having every government facility outfitted with radio communications to ensure effective and efficient communication during and after a disaster.
The workshop participants received their certificates on Jan. 31.