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ODPM's Exercise Dark Storm March 24th - 27th 2015 (Article)

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) in collaboration with local/regional and international response agencies will conduct its annual national exercise “Exercise Dark Storm”, on March 24-26, 2015. The aim of Exercise Dark Storm 2015 is to test the preparedness of the country’s National Response Framework when impacted by the natural hazards to which the nation is most vulnerable. The ODPM has streamlined its strategies with the UNISDR Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 (HFA). According to Priority Action #5 of the HFA which aims to strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels, the ODPM must be optimally prepared at all times for a knowledge-based execution of its mandate to ensure the effective and efficient response to catastrophic incidents. It is equally important that all stakeholders are prepared and ready in their respective domains to ensure a holistic, comprehensive approach in their responses to emergencies and disasters.
These types of exercises are opportunities to practice, assess and improve emergency response times and on-the-ground operations while engaging stakeholders and refreshing the concepts and skills learned in training. Overall, Exercise Dark Storm 2015 intends to build resilience by enhancing the disaster management capabilities of first responders and civil society to ensure that the nation is prepared for a disaster.
Main Objectives are:
* Testing the tsunami preparedness of vulnerable schools within two (2) miles from the Trinidad and Tobago coastline. This test is aimed at the primary and secondary school students and will examine the evacuation management and early warning systems in response to an impending tsunami.
* Testing the resiliency of national communication mechanisms by critically evaluating emergency telecommunication and crisis communication systems before, during and after a national disaster
* Examining the implementation of a humanitarian operations coordination mechanism by efficiently directing resources through the appropriate national agencies.
* Executing efficient command, control and coordination of first responders to the consequences resulting from various hazards throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
* To conduct an efficient evaluation of the response mechanisms to be exercised through the execution of on-site evaluation teams, debriefing, and an after action review and implementation plan

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