The need for an effective and reliable communications system is imperative in light of the recent hurricane season being one of the most devastating on record, rendering communities and islands cut off from the rest of the world.
It is with this thrust that staff of the Saint Lucia National Mental Wellness Centre via the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) conducted a training session in two-way radio communication.
Serona Leonce is the Chairperson of the Wellness Centre disaster committee. She said the workshop participants came from all sections of the facility to ensure full coverage in times of disaster.
“The purpose of the workshop is to ensure that we are prepared should there be a disaster, and to use communication devices effectively and efficiently. Staff from the catering and domestic unit, security, the inpatient unit, the Occupational Therapy Department, and administration all participated so as to ensure that we have every department equipped should there actually be an event."
Facilitator for the workshop, Lionel Ellis, noted that during a disaster the need for communication becomes a priority, and although many people rely on cell phone technology, the two-way radio is the most reliable means of communication during and post disaster.
“As it has been proven during hurricanes Erma and Maria, what worked without a doubt is two-way radio, therefore it is important to train people in two-way radio operation at this time."
Ellis is spearheading a recommendation to have every government facility outfitted with radio communications and backup generator power in towns and villages, to communicate timely vital information that can save lives during a disaster.
"We want to first ensure that the ministries of government understand the importance of this. Some people still feel more secure with cell phones, but we have to continue driving this through the minds of people that their dependency on systems that have the potential to fail will result in tremendous loss.”