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Structure of National Emergency Management System (NEMs)

The National Emergency Management System

The National Emergency Management System is the overarching mechanism which facilitates emergency management. It not only consists of the Department Of Emergency Management which is responsible for the coordination of stakeholders and activities but the following groupings:

  1. Emergency Management Advisory Council
  2. Emergency Operations Centre /Emergency Management Teams
  3. Fifteen (15) Emergency Management Standing Committees
  4. Thirty (30) District Emergency Organisations (DEOs)

The National Emergency Management System is comprised of representatives of the National Disaster Committee which is called the Emergency Management Advisory Council (EMAC) whose membership comprises of representatives of the Emergency Services, key government ministries and departments, the Private Sector, Non Governmental Organisations NGOs, Community Based Organisations CBOs and international and regional emergency management organizations.

Under the EMAC there are fifteen (15) sub committees called standing committees which are organised along Emergency Response Functions such as Shelter, Evacuation, Mass Feeding, Emergency Telecommunications, and Public Utilities amongst others.

Emergency Management Standing Committees

The Standing Committees are chaired by selected members of the Emergency Management Advisory Committee. These Chairpersons are all Technical Heads of Government agencies which have responsibility for the execution of national disaster management policy and programmes in their respective areas of expertise. The Committees include:

  1. Public Information (PIEC)
  2. Damage Assessment and Statistics (DASC)
  3. Health and First Aid Services (HFASC)
  4. Food and General Supplies (FGSC)
  5. Public Utilities (PUC)
  6. Emergency Transport (ETC)
  7. Road Clearance and Tree Trimming (RCTTC)
  8. Welfare Services (WSC)
  9. Shelter Management (SMC)
  10. Telecommunications (TEC)
  11. Emergency Housing and Rehabilitation (EHRC)
  12. National Mitigation (NMC)
  13. Tourism Emergency Management (TEMC)
  14. Technical Standing Committee on Coastal Hazards (TSCCH)

The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC)

The National Emergency Operations Centre is the centralised location from which the mobilisation and coordination of responses and resources is carried out in the event of a major incident, emergency or disaster. The NEOC is staffed by the EOC Management Teams: Emergency Management Teams The Emergency Management Teams are structured to provide a twenty-four hour round the clock operation in the event of any major disaster. The Teams are made up of the Technical Page 4 Heads/representatives of the agencies which are members of the National Disaster Committee. The primary functions of the Teams are:

  1. Notification of key individuals and appropriate agencies
  2. Mobilising additional and extra ordinary resources
  3. Collecting, collating and analysing information
  4. Prioritising response activities
  5. Warning and keeping the public updated on the progress of the incident, the need for evacuation or other precautions and the termination of the incident
  6. Coordinating Damage Assessment and conducting Needs Analysis
  7. Coordinating Emergency Relief and Initial Rehabilitation activities

District Emergency Organisations (DEOs)

The District Emergency Organisation operates as the volunteer arm of the Department of Emergency Management, the agency responsible for the National Emergency Management System. The role of the DEO's is to organize and coordinate the resources of the community so as to allow for an effective response in time of crisis. The DEO works with the community to develop and operationalise disaster prevention and disaster preparedness programmes to lessen the impact of identified hazards such as hurricane, flood and earthquake, fire, aircraft and vehicular accidents and is also becoming more and more involved in the fight against environmental hazards such as love vine and the Giant African Snail.

The DEO reaches out to all groups in the community, including churches, service clubs, neighborhood watches, PTAs, skilled artisans, families, community groups, non-governmental organisation and most importantly the individuals living in the community. There is also a close association with the government agencies such as the Fire Service and the Police that operate in the respective communities.

The DEOs are operated by volunteers and the membership is drawn from the communities which they are intended to serve. The management structure of the DEO is made up of a Chairman, a Deputy Chairman, a Secretary, a Public Relations Officer and officers covering the areas of Shelter Management, First Aid, Damage Assessment, Road Clearance, Transportation, Communication, Clothing and Feeding. General members of the DEO become involved and operate in the areas that are of interest to them. The DEO's main functions are to provide a forum for education and training at the Community level, develop a mechanism for initial emergency response and to develop a mechanism to facilitate the conduct of damage assessment, needs analysis and relief distribution

Involvement in a DEO has several benefits. In addition to gaining a deep knowledge of your community and the people living there, individuals involved in a DEO are able to receive training in diverse areas and gain invaluable knowledge in many aspects of disaster management. The knowledge and skills gained can then be incorporated into your daily life for the benefit of your family, your friends and your community as well as the island as a whole. Involvement in a DEO also makes you a member of the larger family of DEO members that operate around Barbados as well as being an active participant in the fun and fellowship that comes with being part of this movement.

We invite you to become involved in the DEO in your area. There are thirty (30) DEOs strategically placed across the island. For information on how to contact the DEO in your area please call the Department of Emergency Management at 438-7575. You may also wish to complete and submit the volunteer form via email or drop it in at the Department of Emergency Management office at No. 30 Warrens Industrial Park, St. Michael.

We look forward to having you join us. Remember volunteers are a gift to the community.