Shelter managers ready for hurricane season

July 10, 2019
Participants during one of the group sessions.
Participants during one of the group sessions.

Last week saw more than 18 enthusiastic shelter managers being trained at the St James Methodist Church and at the Municipal Corporation in Clarendon for two days.

The training outlined the task of shelter managers, proper reporting techniques on disasters, and assessment procedures among other topics.

It also included role-plays in dealing with possible conflict that might arise when dealing with occupants in the shelter.

At the end of the two-day training, participants received kits comprising vest, flashlight, raincoat, and report forms. The training was organised by the Clarendon Municipal Corporation (CMC), in partnership with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), and facilitated by Regional coordinator Southern region, Camille Beckford Palmer and Parish Disaster Coordinator at the CMC, Eleanor Coombs.

Coombs said the training was all about taking a proactive approach to dealing with any eventualities that may arise.

"Our shelter managers, who are from communities such as Tollgate, Crofts Hill, Rocky Point and Free Town, were trained and there are times they enjoy refresher courses. Some may never be called on as their areas are not problematic ... but it's good to know they will be ready if the need arises," she said.

Coombs said with the vulnerability of the parish to heavy rainfall much less a hurricane, the parish disaster committee must have shelter management as very important to the parish's state of readiness.

"It is the responsibility of the shelter manager to act in a professional and reasonable manner to keep the communication link open and be accountable for all resources given," she said.

Roseta Taylor, who has been in the system since 2017 as a shelter manager for the Rock River community, said for her the training is very important and helpful.

"It feels good to go back to my community and share with them the reassuring words that should anything happen, I am ready to take charge," she said smiling.

- C.C.L.

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