Preparation for any Catastrophe, the Prime Focus at Exercise Tradewinds 2012
Operation Tradewinds 2012 is helping to make Barbados and its regional partners more disaster ready.
Since Monday, a host of government and regional agencies have been engaged in a command post exercise to hone their collective response to several different disaster scenarios.
Some of the harrowing scenarios which officials have been working on include a near-miss by a category three hurricane, a tsunami hitting Barbados, a partial building collapse at the National Stadium and a cruise liner crash which causes an oil spill.
Director of the exercise, Major Carlos Davila of U.S. Marine Forces South explained that the training is focused on cooperation by practicing scenarios that would prompt the Barbados government to seek the assistance of the Regional Security System (RSS).
“One of the main objectives of the exercises is to enhance that interoperability between Barbados and those other island nations that would come to Barbados as part of the RSS to help the government and the people of Barbados handle that kind of security crisis,” said Major Davila.
The exercise, which will continue until Friday, involves officials from Barbados’ various armed forces and emergency services, the RSS, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and several government ministries.
Fully operational disaster response operations centers have been recreated for the exercise, with a control room at the Crane Hotel, a joint operations center at the Fire Service’s airport station and a national emergency operations center at the Disaster of Emergency Management’s headquarters in Warrens.
Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force, Colonel Alvin Quintyne spoke enthusiastically about the prospect of this exercise at the opening ceremony for Tradewinds, saying:
“It is also very significant at this time that we are having a phase of the exercise that treats to the disaster issues because unfortunately over the years we have not been able to roll out that type of national exercise. So hopefully the small bit that is being done during Tradewinds will encourage a greater effort at the national level…. Seeing it on paper is all well and good but we need to get out there to practice to make sure we understand our roles and to identify the challenges that we would face when the real thing strikes.”
Tradewinds is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored annual security training exercise. It is an inter-agency, multi-national exercise designed to enhance the collective abilities of Caribbean defense forces and constabularies to counter transnational organized crime and conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.