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ODPM's National Volunteer Programme

Shortly after the launch of the National Volunteer Programme in November 2011, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management sought to keep the momentum that began with the launch by beginning its first phase of training for those persons who registered to be volunteers. On December 17, 2011, thirty volunteers arrived eager and excited at the National Emergency Operating Centre at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management to commence their training.

The volunteers received information on Comprehensive Disaster Management in Trinidad and Tobago from Mr. Dike Noel, the Public Information Specialist at the ODPM. The group was an enthusiastic and engaging audience, with many sharing their personal experiences of disaster relief in Post-Ivan Grenada and Post- earthquake Haiti. A very captivating and interactive presentation on the risks, vulnerabilities and hazards to Trinidad and Tobago was then done by Hazard Mitigation Specialist, Rishma Maharaj.

This introductory session will be repeated throughout January 2012. The response has been incredible which has prompted the ODPM to maintain the standard with which we started. Upon completion of this first training session, the volunteers will then undergo specialized introductory training where they will be exposed to various facets of disaster management. Some of these include: shelter management, Incident Command Systems and Initial Damage Assessments. During the third phase of training, volunteers will be enrolled into the more intensive training that typically lasts three to four days based on their skill sets and interests.

It is hoped that the approximately 300 registered volunteers will have completed their training by June 2012. This will ensure that the ODPM and stakeholders have an available cadre of skilled volunteers that can be called upon should the need arise especially during the next rainy and hurricane seasons.

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