State agencies strengthen information and data management capabilities

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) launched a Data and Information Management Workshop on Tuesday 18th February, 2020 for key state agencies involved in disaster management, at the ODPM’s Alternate National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) at Mausica. 

The workshop’s principal focus was to provide specialists with tools for improving their organisations’ information collection and dissemination capabilities prior to, during and post disaster operations. Highlights of the training included the importance of continuous information collection to ensure the best operational picture is developed and maintained. In that regard, the workshop emphasised the importance of using various forms of data especially in a dynamic environment, to be “approximately correct rather than precisely wrong” or late, while waiting to receive perfect information. 

Participants creatively applied the various digital and hand-written tools and techniques that can be utilised during disaster operations. Through interactive activities, they created maps that could be used by national agencies at all levels, without the use of sophisticated GIS software. Attendees also utilised open-source data collection surveys designed to allow field agents to collect and submit data quickly.

The workshop was co-hosted by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA). It was launched by the CEO of the ODPM, Major General (Ret’d) Rodney Smart, who emphasised to the participants, the importance of rapid information collection, analysis and dissemination to enable strategic leaders to make sound, timely decisions. Also speaking at the opening was the lead facilitator Brenda Eriksen of UN OCHA and Renee Babb representing CDEMA. 

The training also focused on building teamwork and information sharing among agencies. In attendance were representatives from the Office of the Prime Minister; Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Social Development and Family Services; Ministry of Public Administration; Ministry of Public Utilities; Tobago Emergency Management Agency; Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force; Trinidad and Tobago Police Service; Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service; Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service and members of staff of the ODPM. 

Coming before Carnival 2020, the two-day workshop was timely as it strengthened national agencies capabilities to share and quickly act on information, in the event of any unforeseen circumstance.

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