Fri | Aug 12, 2022

St Elizabeth fine-tuning plans for hurricane season

Published:Wednesday | July 6, 2022 | 12:08 AMAlbert Ferguson\Gleaner Writer

The St Elizabeth Municipal Corporation is reporting that preparations are well under way for the start of the hurricane season.

So far some 200 volunteers have already been identified to serve as managers for the 87 public shelters across the parish.

Ornella Lewis, parish disaster coordinator, said, “In terms of preparedness for the hurricane season, we have been doing extensive work, part of which involves working with the different agencies in the parish to ensure that everyone is ready for all eventualities.”

The hurricane season officially began June 1 and will end on November 30, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted that 14 to 21 named storms will develop this Atlantic hurricane season, including tropical storms and hurricanes.

It notes that three to six of the predicted hurricanes could be major, with wind speeds starting at 111 miles per hour.

Lewis says training for the shelter managers has already started with a final session to complete the preparatory exercise scheduled to end on July 6.

“Training is an essential part of this group of volunteers called shelter managers ... (and) we have tried to engage, especially some of our newly recruited ones,” she explained.

“(For) our emergency operations, we have been ensuring that persons have the necessary training by providing refresher sessions.

“In terms of our shelters, we have completed inspections where we now have 87 public shelters,”she said.

“We will be hosting a shelter manager symposium, where we will have several entities with interest in shelter management in attendance, which will also include several presentations on best practices,” Lewis said.

The symposium will also be used to recognise persons who have been assisting over the years.

Lewis said approximately 20 shelter managers who have given unwavering service to their community and parish in the area of natural disaster will be specially awarded on July 21.