The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) is always engaged in preparing citizens for disasters and hazards, but the focus right now is on the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season.
NEMO has been sending officials to schools and communities to urge citizens to take precaution during this period and to get in a state of preparedness.
Communications Manager for NEMO, Kerwin Xavier, told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) in an interview on Thursday that the aim is always to put people in a state of readiness for any disaster.
“We are always in a state of readiness and likewise we always try to get our agencies in a state of readiness, that is why we ensure year round we provide training,” he said.
Asked how effective NEMO’s message is to the St. Lucian public, Xavier said that the message has always been effective, but the issue lies with people’s behaviour and response to the message.
“Persons do not take heed, unless they have become victims or they have experienced it themselves,” he told SNO.
However, NEMO, he said, plans to continue looking at new ways to improve their communication, and is now focused on providing targeted training to various groups.
“In the past, what we had was just one paint brush, with one big message, but now we are breaking down that message…We now have more small group discussions in schools and communities,” he explained.
Xavier said NEMO is now tailoring the message to suit every age level and has commenced an early warning system training in Dennery for persons in that constituency.
He said it is the responsibility of the public to take disaster preparedness information seriously, and implement the necessary measures that will ensure safety and reduce losses.
An update in predictions for the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season point to an increase in the number of expected storms. It is anticipated it will be the most active season since 2012.a
The Colorado State University released an adjusted forecast which projects 15 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes, close to the 30-year average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
That forecast includes Hurricane Alex, a rare January hurricane, and tropical storms Bonnie, Colin and Danielle which previously formed, so it is expected there will be about 11 more storms before the November 30 end of the season.
The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, 2016, and will end on November 30, 2016.