The units that form the island’s disaster management apparatus or the Emergency Support Functions (ESF groups) held a series of training exercises this week. The training was held under the guidance and expertise of Paul Martens of the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) of the Fire Department in St. Maarten. The purpose of the training was to focus on the communication between the operational command such as the Fire Department, Police and Medical teams and the tactical/strategic command which is headed by the Island Governor.
There was a theoretical workshop, where Mr. Martens thoroughly outlined and explained the Command and Coordination Structure that is prescribed in the Public Safety Law BES. Other presentations included the in-depth look at lines of communication during a disaster and insight into how the Disaster Management Processes are formulated.
During the operational training, which was held on Thursday, emergency personnel had to respond to a full scale scenario. This scenario simulated a small fire with an explosion in a store, which resulted in four victims. Another scenario was cancelled due to a real emergency. The response and interactions with the various groups and emergency services were observed. The main focus of the operational training exercise was to identify and observe three elements: ownership and execution of processes; communication and coordination.
Island Governor Jonathan Johnson indicated that these trainings are necessary in order for the island to increase its disaster response capabilities, and that it was important that the disaster management apparatus be ready to face any serious events which could occur on the island, the trainings are also prescribed in the law.
Saba Government Information Service.