ODPEM Establishes Training for Flood Warning System


The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), has implemented the training component of a community flood warning system in the Mitchell Town Community in Clarendon.
The community flood warning system is being set up by ODPEM in association with the Water Resources Authority (WRA) and the Mines and Geology Division, in an effort to mitigate against flooding which has affected the community on previous occasions. The training sessions are being held from January 24-28 at the Mitchell Town Church of God.
Speaking with JIS News yesterday (January 26), Senior Hydrologist at the WRA, Errol Douglas and presenter for the sessions explained that the training process was also expected to yield a number of persons to form a flood response team.
“We’re in the process of sensitization and from this we want to form a flood response team made up of about 12 persons drawn from the group we’re now training. We will appoint a Flood Coordinator, an Assistant Flood Coordinator, persons responsible for communicating information such as callers and runners in the event of a flood and we also need to have flood gauge readers,” he said.
According to Mr. Douglas, the proposed plan for setting up the flood warning system is to, among other things, collaborate with technical agencies and other stakeholders in the project to determine the level of rainfall in May Pen that would cause flooding in Mitchell Town.
“We will determine the critical or flood level in May Pen that will cause flooding in Mitchell Town as well as the lead time it will take to reach the community from May Pen. We will also set up a flood gauge in May Pen and communicate with the persons in Mitchell Town to be on watch for flooding.
Persons will be trained in the response mechanism so that the entire community should know what to do and flood gauges will also be set up in the Mitchell Town community, he noted.
Mr. Douglas also said that although the focus of the flood warning system was to reduce the impact of flooding through timely response, the evaluation process of the system would also highlight the problems in the community, which contributed to flooding and needed to be monitored by various agencies in partnership with the community.
A little more than 30 persons are being trained in the areas of Basic Disaster Management, Hurricane Preparedness, Flood Preparation, Earthquake Preparedness, Fire Preparedness and Search and Rescue, The Use, Operation and Maintenance of Alert Systems, Introduction to rain Gauges and its application to the community, Community Hazard Analysis and Hazard Mapping, Shelter Management and First Aid. A simulation exercise is also to be carried out.

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