NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Cable Bahamas Group of Companies continued its partnership with, and support of, the National Emergency Management Agency’s (NEMA) and its disaster management/mitigation and response processes with a cash donation and “in kind” equipment towards the support of the agency’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training Programme.
The Group presented NEMA with six Aliv Push-to-Talk Communication devices that were packaged with six months of free data service. The presentation took place Tuesday (July 20), at the National Emergency Management Agency, Gladstone Road.
Mr. Carl F. Smith, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, said the purpose of CERT Training is to provide citizens with the basic skills required to: “handle virtually all of their own needs and then to be able to respond to their communities’ needs, in the aftermath of a disaster/emergency.”
“Community Emergency Response Teams are trained to take care of themselves and then help others in their communities for the first three days following a disaster,” Mr. Smith said. “This is when debris-clogged, or damaged roads, disrupted communications, or a high volume of calls may prevent access by emergency response personnel.
“CERT Training promotes a partnering effort between NEMA and the people whom they serve. The goal is for emergency personnel to train members of neighbourhoods, community organizations or workplaces, in basic response skills. CERT members are then integrated into the emergency response capability for their area.
“If a disastrous event overwhelms or delays the community’s professional response, CERT members can assist others by applying the basic response and organizational skills they learnt during training. These skills can help to save and sustain lives following a disaster until help arrives. CERT skills also apply to daily emergencies.”
Mr. Smith said the involvement of the community in disaster preparedness and response is crucial. He said NEMA officials have trained over 300 persons in CERT across 9 islands of The Bahamas. The first cohort of CERT Train-the-Trainer programme was conducted by the US SOUTHERN Command in 2004.
“Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety and losses that accompany disasters,” Mr. Smith said. “The financial contribution that Cable Bahamas is making today to NEMA is yet another significant and important contribution the company has made to disaster management.”
PS Smith applauded the donation of the Push-to-Talk Communication devices, adding that communication is one of the most critical requirements among the various aspects of disaster management.
“In the context of disaster management, fail-safe communication is vital during a wide range of actions, from significant phase of preparedness to impart knowledge and information, to warning of impending threats of disaster, to calling up various resources and in conducting disaster management in general,” Mr. Smith said.
“There are two distinct facets of communication, including the physical aspect where we use a variety of means via ever progressing technology. That has certainly been the case with Cable Bahamas with whom the National Emergency Management Agency has had a wonderful working relationship for the benefit of The Bahamas as a whole,” Mr. Smith added.
Mr. Franklyn Butler, II, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cable Bahamas Group of Companies, said Group officials value their relationship with NEMA and: “offer our utmost support to them for the incredible work they do for our country.”
“Everyone has a part to play in the emergency response and NEMA’s CERT programme empowers Bahamians in the community who are on the frontline,” Mr. Butler said. “We saw how important this was during Dorian, and we are happy to make a donation towards additional training and support for NEMA’s CERT Programme.”
Mr. Butler said the donation also allows the company to: “put our money where our heart is.”
“We know that being a good, corporate citizen is often about putting your money where your heart is and that is exactly what we seek to do today. To this end, we are ensuring that our support of NEMA is not just in sentiment, but in tangible support, hence our donation of both cash and in-kind equipment.”
Mr. Dwayne Davis, Chief Information Officer, Cable Bahamas Group of Companies, assured NEMA officials that the Push-to-Talk Communication devices “are going to be very, very reliable.”
“We recognize that strong and efficient partnerships are critical to disaster response because they enhance the community’s overall response capabilities,” Mr. Davis said.
“One of the key things that you will see today is that we are going to present NEMA with a resource that we guarantee is going to be very, very reliable. Push-to-Talk Communication is a communication that does not need a tower, it does not need a building. We promise you that these devices allow multi point-to-point over our LTE Network, and that as long as our Aliv network is working, we can guarantee you that the Push-to-Talk devices that we are going to give you today, at our cost, (and) at no expense to you, will be extremely reliable and will serve the community very, very well. This is why our strategic partnership with NEMA is not only important, (but) essential and timely,” Mr. Davis added.