The management of the Argyle International Airport (AIA) has heightened efforts to train their staff and officials, first responders including law enforcement and health personnel, and non-government organizations to be prepared to act in the event of a disaster.
The two days Port Resiliency Program (PReP) workshop was officially declared opened by Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves at the AIA Training room on Wednesday, 27th September.
In his welcoming remarks, CEO AIA Inc., Mr. Hadley Bourne, said the aim of the workshop is to train all personnel to respond quickly in the aftermath of a disaster and to have the airport up and running at the soonest time. Mr. Bourne expressed gratitude to OAA/ART Director of CARICOM Outreach, Mr. Wesley Kirton and his team for partnering with the AIA to host the workshop.
FedEx St. Vincent Country Manager, Mrs. Wendy Minors, said that FedEx is a proud sponsor of the Port Resiliency Program. Minors described the workshop as timely now more than ever in light of recent natural disasters in the region. She wished the workshop participants every success.
CEO/OAA/PReP, Dr. Teo A. Babun, stated the AIA is the 10th airport in the Caribbean going through the PReP workshop. Dr. Babun referred to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti citing that the airport employees left their duties to source food and water. According to Dr. Babun, the airport was closed and this hampered travel and relief efforts. He hoped this lesson from Haiti would be taken into consideration and that there would never be a repeat of what happened there.
Topics and sessions for day one of the workshop included: Improving operations and preparedness, emergency communications and social media, aircraft crash impact and response, taking care of employees and families, from hazard and risk assessment to superior resiliency, with emphasis on volcanic ash, flooding, earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides, pandemics and communicable diseases, and panel discussion with Government officials.