TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020: PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO – Fire drills are an important safety practice and legal requirement within any commercial property. Educational facilities are no exceptions to this rule. When environments contain young children or elderly persons, greater care and attention need to be given to the process and its efficiency. Under the Digicel Foundation’s Preparing You! Programme, staff and students from The Lady Hochoy School Arima and residents from the Memisa Centre participated in evacuation drill exercises at their respective premises on March 10, in Heights of Gunapo, Arima.
The evacuation drills carried out in close cooperation with officers from the Fire Prevention Office and Tunapuna/Piarco Disaster Management Unit (DMU), are crucial elements in the assessment of the capacity-building training received so far in the programme. The drills are focused on ensuring that, in the event of a real evacuation, those at the facility involved can leave the building quickly and safely.
“A culture of drills can save lives”, this was the message received from Mr. Hayden Alexander, Disaster Management Coordinator of the Tunapuna / Piarco DMU as he addressed staff at The Memisa Centre. Mr Alexander also commended Mrs Sharon Lewis for the work with the students as they demonstrated how swift and orderly drills can be done, in spite of their various disabilities.
Officer Mills from the Arima Fire Prevention Unit urged staff at the Memisa Centre to continue to practice drills regularly. He emphasised that drills are a great example of ‘hope for the best, prepare for the worst’ and should be repeated so that routine becomes habit
Natalie Anne De Silva, Digicel Foundation Project Officer for ‘Preparing You!’, reiterated the importance of working to build capacity in disaster preparedness. Ms. De Silva also applauded Ms. Claxton Manager at The Memisa Centre for her commitment to the residents in her charge.
The Digicel Foundation’s disaster management preparedness programme Preparing You’, in schools that cater for persons with disabilities, is now in its third year and is in keeping with the Foundation’s mandate to ‘create a world where no one gets left behind’.