Officers from the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) joined their counterparts around the Caribbean for Region Rap 2020, an annual telecommunications exercise.
DDM Emergency Communications Manager Jasen Penn said the exercise was designed to strengthen communication between the 18 Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Participating States and partner agencies.
He said the exercise was fruitful, allowing local and regional partners to test traditional as well as more contemporary communications channels.
“It was a very comprehensive exercise,” Mr. Penn stated, adding, “We were able to test all the methods we would use to keep in touch with the CDEMA Coordinating Unit during an emergency, including our satellite phones and the high frequency radios used by amateur radio operators, but also our more usual communication methods such as landline phone, email, WhatsApp and social media.”
The Communications Manager said that in addition to connecting with regional partners, participating in the exercise highlighted areas where local communications can be streamlined for greater efficiency.
CDEMA Executive Director Ronald Jackson said after the exercise that regional standard operating procedures will be updated to reflect lessons learned.
Mr. Jackson said, “The success of today’s exercise is a testament to the joint efforts with our partners in ensuring emergency telecommunications capabilities are tested across the CDEMA system. Today’s exercise demonstrates our commitment to strengthening emergency telecommunications systems at both national and regional levels.”
The next regional exercise takes place on March 19, when the Virgin Islands will join other Caribbean states for Caribe Wave 2020, an earthquake and tsunami exercise. Residents and businesses can register to participate in Caribe Wave online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Reg_CW2020.