The National Emergency Management Organization NEMO held a Shelter Management and Tsunami Preparedness Training Workshop for Public Officers in Belize City today. Al Westby, Central Regional Coordinator for NEMO says that the training is on schedule with the various work done to ensure preparedness for disasters.
Al Westby, Regional Coordinator, NEMO: “At this time as we know Belize City has already completed their shelter inspection along with the different engineers, based on what the engineers recommend which building is qualified to use as a safe building for sheltering we utilize those buildings. It’s an exercise that is done long before the 1st of June and we have a deadline of doing it. So within that context the training now these officers will be trained properly to manage these buildings that they will be working in along with the different agencies in charge of police and BDF. Last year 2016 and 2017 if I’m not mistaken we trained over 300-400 public officers in Belize City alone and we are not talking about the other districts who do the same amount of training, we also train a lot of voluntary personnelle not from the government services but from the villages and different areas.”
Westby adds that while most public officers have participated in shelter preparedness before, the training on tsunamis is very new.
Al Westby, Regional Coordinator, NEMO: “The Tsunami was not attached to it so it was a new venture for them, its a new venture for the country so we just have to stay prepared and prepare our public officers to respond in times of disaster. You cannot prepare for a tsunami like we prepare for a hurricane. We can’t be sitting in an emergency operation center counting down hours, a tsunami is minimum the time is very fast so what we can do is advise people more or less where to go, go to high ground or the highest building or get out as fast as they can; there is not much that you can train them to do except for the alert warning system.”
And while today’s training included public officers only, Westby says that members of the public are able to request training sessions with NEMO.
Al Westby, Regional Coordinator, NEMO: “Our NEMO family, our team does a lot of work on Saturday, Sunday, we do workshops in all these villages it’s continuous. Like I said earlier, if you live in a neighborhood and you have 20 or 30 people that want to be trained in shelter management, or damage assessment or anything pertaining to disaster you contact us, you can call my number at any time at 630-3224 within the Central Zone and we will facilitate that process of training.”
NEMO also encourages businesses to take advantage of training sessions. Interested persons can also call the NEMO hotline at 936 for information or to make arrangements for training.