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NODS to host tsunami disaster drill today

by pointe team
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The National Office of Disaster Preparedness will stage a tsunami disaster exercise
today to test the residents’ state of preparedness and evacuation plans, should such
an event affect the country.
NODS Public Relations Officer, Midcie Francis, said the exercise is a regional drill
that is held annually and coordinated by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency
Management Agency (CDEMA).
She stated that more than thirty private businesses, government departments and
schools have agreed to participate in the evacuation exercise. The exercise will
start at approximately 10:30 a.m., with participants receiving an alert from the
CAP system downloaded on their phones, or mobile devices.
Francis explained that CAP – Common Alert Protocol – will alert the participants
by a sound, indicating that there is an extreme situation on hand. “There are several
sounds from the CAP system, but the one for tsunami is an extreme sound
notifying the participants of what is expected under the circumstances, and what
they should do,” she further explained.
A number of evacuation centres have been identified, where people are expected to
gather for the duration of the exercise. These include the St. John’s Cathedral, the
Antigua Recreation Grounds, YASCO, the Botanical Gardens, Scotts Hill, and the
grounds of the Parliament Building.
At least one of the major commercial banks in the country – ACB Caribbean – is
among participating entities listed to take part. After the alert has been sent out, all
entities, government, private sector, and schools are expected to stop what they are
doing and to immediately evacuate to the designated centres.
Francis disclosed that both the police and the Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
will assist organisers by sounding their sirens, to make it easier for evacuees to
congregate at the centres.
She further explained that while the CAP alert has a system to interrupt radio and
television broadcasts, this aspect of the alert will not be activated today.
The NODS PRO added that following the exercise there will be an ‘after-action’
review of the event to determine areas of weaknesses and strengths. This will
include reports from the district disaster committee lead persons who will interact

directly with participants. Representatives from the Royal Police Force of Antigua
and Barbuda, The Fire Department, the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force and
the Red Cross will also participate, as they too will assist with the exercise.
Additionally, there will be a more in-depth review of the exercise involving all
stakeholders next week.

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