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JIS News

Training of community personnel to assist in the operation of disaster relief shelters in Hanover, including 15 deemed critical shelters, is underway in earnest in the parish.
Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) Parish Co-ordinator, Olga Headley, told JIS News that 15 of the 50 shelters in the parish have been declared as critical shelters because of the regularity with which they are used as safe heavens.
According to Mrs. Headley, in addition to ensuring the proper operation of the facilities, the training sessions are geared towards developing an emergency plan for each community.
She said that citizens are included in the process, as they are integral to the smooth operation of the facilities. “Suffice it to say, we have shelter managers for all these shelters, but it is just to get the community persons involved in the running of the shelter,” she said.
“We have experienced some vandalism (in the past) when they (residents) do come into the shelters, so we have to get them to buy into the idea that it is their facility, they need to take care of the facility, so they have that responsibility,” she pointed out.
In the meantime, Mrs. Headley said that the one challenge being faced was the lack of adequate storage space for relief supplies, but informed that the Parish Disaster Committee was working closely with the Hanover Parish Council towards solving that problem. “We are working on it. The Council is now embarking on buying a shed, one of these aluminum sheds, which can be used for storage, and that will be placed down by Haughton Court near to the police station,” she informed.
She added that arrangements have also been made with business establishments and other community organizations to extend a line of credit to the Parish Disaster Committee in times of need, and also for storage space for material and goods to be made available.
Apart from the community training seminars, a series of public fora are being held across the parish. The next forum in the series will be held on Thursday, June 26 at 5:00 p.m at the Hanover Parish Library.