The re-installation of disaster warning systems across the territory is in full swing, according to the Department of Disaster Management.
“We have been able to source and purchase a number of equipment, including 24 weather stations, eight sirens, 100 smart radios, equipment for re-installation of seven strong motions sensors to measure earthquake activity, and six encoders to re-establish the emergency broadcast system linked to the local radio stations,” said DDM Emergency Communications Manager Jasen Penn, who is spearheading the installation works with a team of interns and technical staff from DDM.
He added that partners from abroad are supporting the effort and will help with future upgrades.
During hurricanes Irma and Maria, warning networks built over a 40-year period were destroyed, according to DDM.
Cabinet approved nearly $500,000 to support the re-installation of those instruments.
Besides hazard-monitoring components, the DDM is also repairing the telecommunications mechanisms linked to radio stations and repeater systems.
“We have acquired equipment to reinstall the emergency broadcast system as well as the disaster preparedness telecommunications network that allows for linkages with over 100 sites throughout the territory,” Mr. Penn said, adding, “We also have some exciting and innovative projects ongoing with local telecommunication partners that will help to further improve our ability to alert and warn the public.”
The government will also reconstruct a new National Emergency Operations Centre in MacNamara through a loan agreement with the Caribbean Development Bank. The facility eventually is to serve as a central hub for monitoring hazards and for the alert systems managed by the DDM.
“Significant progress” has been made in “advancing the requirements of the loan agreement to have the existing plans reviewed” in order to ensure that they meet international standards for emergency operations centres, according to a DDM statement.