Last update: 12-Dec-2013 4:50 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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ODPM looks at big emergency centre
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) is looking at possible sites for the construction of a large-scale emergency centre in Trinidad by 2014, CEO Dr Stephen Ramroop said yesterday. He said so after the launch of a private and public-sector partnership programme between the ODPM and Duracell at Lonsdale Advertising, St Clair, yesterday.
Ramroop said the ODPM already was scouting several locations. He added: “We have done a helicopter run and we have met with the Ministry of Housing and the Commissioner of State Lands and we have identified quite a number of locations throughout the country.
“We want to build some massive decanting centres for the highway so that if you are in traffic at eight in the morning and there is an earthquake and we want to decant the highway we would have these massive car park centres and would be able to clear the highway for emergency vehicles.” He said those shelters also would be used as tsunami centres and should have helicopter pads so they could be used to drop off food and supplies.
Ramroop said the ODPM also was looking at shelter-in-place arrangements. “What we are asking the population to do is if you have an aunty or an uncle that you could go to that should be the first option and the ODPM will arrange to take you there in an emergency,” he added. Ramroop said the ODPM also was working with the Ministries of Housing and Community Development to repair existing community centres which could be used as shelters.
Yesterday’s launch, Ramroop said, was a part of the ODPM’s attempt to engage the private sector in disaster risk management. “The private sector is one of the most vulnerable sectors for an earthquake. If the private sector does not get its act together, it will suffer and the country will suffer,” he added.Ross Cabral, brand manager for Duracell, said the company would partner with the ODPM during the rest of the hurricane season to educate people and create awareness of the risks during the season.
He said the company also would donate batteries, flashlights and rain ponchos to the ODPM’s disaster kits.
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