The National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) is continuing to push for the completion of comprehensive disaster management plans for all government ministries.
According to a Cabinet decision taken last year, the transition should be made from hurricane plans to comprehensive disaster management plans by the end of June.
The completion of the disaster management plan is the responsibility of Liaison Officers who have been appointed in the various ministries to oversee disaster management programmes as set out in the Disaster Management Act of 2002. They are mandated to report directly to the Permanent Secretary.
As a way of strengthening the effort, NODS completed a four-day basic disaster management workshop on Thursday with the liaison officers.
During the workshop, it was revealed that government ministries have major challenges that need to be addressed. Among the concerns are the absence of adequate entrances and exits, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, first aid kits and personnel trained in relevant subject areas.
A comprehensive disaster management plan covers these and other aspects, including the role of each individual and a schedule for disaster management activities which may include drills and exercises among other things.
It was also pointed out that it is important policy makers and decision makers understand their roles and take ownership of the disaster management process thus ensuring that the needs of the various ministries are met and the safety of workers is given priority.
As a follow-up from the workshop, officials from NODS will have further meetings with Permanent Secretaries and Liaison Officers. Inspections will also be made of the ministries, and reports and recommendations submitted to the Cabinet, Government Ministers and Permanent Secretaries for further action