Household Disaster Preparedness in the Caribbean: Increasing Awareness and Resilience in St Lucia

“Preparation through education is less costly than learning through tragedy.” Max Mayfield, American meteorologist

CASTRIES, SAINT LUCIA, August 01 — Tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, volcano eruptions, earthquakes: some of the natural disasters which Saint Lucia is most vulnerable to. Though many of these cannot be prevented, there are many steps the citizenry can take to help mitigate the loss of life and resources.   As a small island developing state, Saint Lucia is extremely vulnerable to the effects of global climate change. Its topography, climate and position on a mid-ocean ridge mean it experiences regular hurricanes, strong seismic and volcanic activity as well as direct exposure to the forces of the oceans surrounding it.

St John Saint Lucia is running a disaster preparedness training programme over the next seventeen (17) months in the hope of reducing the impact of disasters on vulnerable populations in Saint Lucia through improved community preparedness and response capacities.  This new project will spend almost half a million Eastern Caribbean dollars on training and equipping communities to develop expertise and tools for managing crises because prevention and preparedness are often much more cost-effective than humanitarian relief operations.

“It is vital that communities are more aware of their vulnerabilities, know how they can mitigate against hazards and become more resilient to natural disasters and climate change in general,” noted Glenn Wilson, Master Trainer and Project Coordinator for St John Saint Lucia.  “With partnership and guidance from the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO), the project aims to:

  • Improve awareness and resilience of households and the wider community through increased knowledge and training in disaster-related issues, leading to behaviour change;

  • Strengthen the public’s preparedness and response mechanisms through the support of local disaster committees, emergency shelters and satellite warehouses; and

  • Create a household-centered disaster preparedness model which can be expanded and adopted in other Caribbean countries.”

“Overall, the project aims to change the households’ behaviour so people commit enough time and resources for their individual disaster preparations and that they pay attention to the existing systems. At the end of a one-day training, participants will have learnt how to identify risks in their community and around their homes. Additionally, they will develop practical plans for their households which include actions to take in advance of an emergency, pack an evacuation kit with food and equipment for 72 hours and also first aid training which will be necessary after an emergency. The knowledge can immediately be utilised to help save lives and reduce loss of property.” Ronald Gardner, St John Council Chairman.

Anyone or organisation interested in receiving this FREE One-day Disaster Risk Reduction training can contact St John Ambulance via telephone number (758) 451 6122 or email to book a session.


About St John Saint Lucia

St John Saint Lucia has been helping people on the Caribbean island for more than 80 years.  The organisation is volunteer-led and relies heavily on volunteers to undertake its charitable work.

St John Saint Lucia is governed by a National Council, which consists of a Chair and elected individuals drawn from various sectors of the society. The National Council determines national policy and set directions for St John.  The organisation’s head office is based in Castries, but St John St Lucia works all around the country.

St John provides the highest quality training in first aid and first aid cover at events. It has also been involved in various disaster preparedness activities over recent years.


Posted by: Admin on 01 August 2019

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