Friday, June 21, 2024

NEMO holds first Official EOC Meeting for the Hurricane Season


In an effort to increase preparedness during the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) hosted a meeting with all 13 committees under the San Pedro’s Emergency Operation Center (EOC). The group convened on Friday, June 23rd at the Belize Rural South NEMO Branch office on Coconut Drive for the first meeting of the Hurricane Season. It was aimed at reviewing the state of readiness and fine-tune the EOC’s plan of action that would be activated in the event of a storm or extreme rain.
The gathering was headed by Minister of Tourism and Belize Rural South Area Representative Honourable Manuel Heredia. Also present were Deputy Chairman of the San Pedro EOC, Mayor Danny Guerrero; Regional Coordinator, Al Westby; Belize Rural South Coordinator, Vanessa Parham, who chaired the meeting; and the outgoing Coordinator for that area, Timrose Augustine, who is now stationed in Belize City.
Pastor Clive Welsh officially opened the meeting with a short prayer, then Parham welcomed those in attendance, thanking everyone for taking time to participate in this important discussion. “As we head into the hurricane season, it’s not only NEMO’s job to preserve life and property but the entire community as a team. One of our main goals for this season is to improve the experience and response in case of emergencies, and this can only be done with everyone’s help. Only with the suggestions, comments and input of the people can we improve,” stated Parham.
Following Parham’s welcome address, Heredia delivered his remarks as the Chairperson of San Pedro’s EOC. “I believe that we are prepared to tackle a storm. I am glad to say that San Pedro has the most active EOC in the country. I ask everyone who forms part of this team to continue working together with NEMO so that this year we are even more prepared,” said Heredia.
Deputy Chairperson of the San Pedro’s EOC, Mayor Guerrero also spoke at the meeting. “I must say that while we have a good team, last year during Hurricane Earl we had our weak spots. I do believe in teamwork, responsibility and team work from all members, because if we don’t have this then we will not be able to function. My biggest hope for this year is for the team to not lose the chain of command and to practice proper communication. We have to remember, this not only about the response during the storm but the damage control after,” explained Guerrero. He stressed the importance for all members of the EOC to be committed and to work together during this Hurricane Season.
After the scheduled speeches, the representative of the respective EOC committees shared their current status in regards to preparedness. Recommendation and concerns were then shared by those in attendance on how to better the island’s emergency plan of action.
Meetings of the sort are being held by all branches of NEMO across the country. NEMO stresses the importance of EOCs to be prepared during this time, so as to avoid confusion during disasters, while preserving life and property. Residents are also asked to adhere to all warnings and notices posted by NEMO and the respective EOCs of their community.
The San Pedro EOC can be contacted at 226-4458, 226-4358 or 226-4824. The office is located on the second floor of the Wings Department Store building on Coconut Drive. Belize Rural South NEMO Coordination, Vanessa Parham can be contacted directly at phone number 632-3698; the NEMO Emergency Hotline phone number is 936.

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