The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Seismic Research Center and the Ministry of Education convened an Earthquake Tsunami Teacher Awareness Workshop on Tuesday, January 16 at the University of the West Indies Global Campus.
Director of NEMO Michelle Forbes, in her remarks, said today’s session is the first of two sessions on the Earthquake Tsunami Teacher Awareness Workshop. She said the workshop is focusing mainly on geological hazards, in particular, earthquakes and tsunamis, to raise awareness given the increase in earthquakes in other Caribbean countries.
The NEMO Director said they saw the need to inform teachers about earthquakes, so they will in turn, educate students on how to respond in the event of an earthquake while they are at school. She said the workshop also ties in with the Ministry of Education’s School Safety initiative, which is geared at ensuring that each school has an evacuation plan.
Forbes thanked the Ministry of Education for partnering with NEMO on the initiative, noting that they will also host similar workshops at the schools in the Grenadines to continue the earthquake and tsunami awareness on those islands.
The Director noted that NEMO would concentrate on earthquakes during the next two months, and in March they will focus on Tsunami hazards with a Tsunami Drill to be held on March 21, targeting schools and businesses in Arnos Vale as part of the Regional Carib Wave Exercise; while in April, NEMO will focus on volcano awareness.
Professor of Geology at the UWI Seismic Research Center, Professor Richard Robertson, in his remarks, encouraged the teachers to make full use of the information and knowledge gained at the workshop.
Robertson said St. Vincent and the Grenadines is vulnerable to geological hazards and it is important for teachers to be knowledgeable about these geological hazards and to ensure that their students respond appropriately in the event of any hazards.
He also highlighted the importance of organisations like NEMO in hosting these sessions to have experts in the field assist people who are vulnerable to make sure that they respond appropriately to minimize the possible impacts.
Senior Education Officer with responsibility for Research and School Safety, Dr. Idelia Ferdinand, in her remarks, said the workshop is part of a comprehensive disaster management approach that seeks to address all hazards, all people, all sectors and all phases.
Ferdinand added that this is in sync with the comprehensive school safety framework which is built on three pillars, school facilities, development of plans and procedures and knowledge and awareness.