CDEMA recently hosted Exercise REGIONRAP, its annual exercise to test the Emergency Telecommunications procedures, plans and networks across the CDEMA Coordinating Unit. Telecommunications is an essential element of disaster preparedness, and the exercise allows the CDEMA CU to gauge the efficiency and reliability of emergency telecommunications systems within the 19 CDEMA Participating States.

Senior Programme Officer - Telecommunications at CDEMA, Courtney King, shared the importance of the exercise saying, “Exercise REGIONRAP is conducted to ensure that one of the key lifelines keeping us together as a region during any form of hazard, is exercised, assessed and made readily available at all levels of Comprehensive Disaster Management - That lifeline being, Emergency Telecommunications.”

Thirty-one participants including the Regional Amateur Radio Operators, the Regional Security System (RSS) and some Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)/Drone Operators were challenged with addressing a scenario of multiple earthquakes causing a noticeable increase in volcanic activity from Kick-em Jenny, Soufriere and the La Soufrière volcanoes. Participants exercised key components of the Regional Emergency Telecommunications Plan in the face of multiple hazards and realistic occurrences.

The annual exercise is the functional component of Exercise SYNERGY, and is critical to ensuring the Emergency Telecommunications Tree of the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) is actively in use throughout the region. Participants gain practical experience in the application of the emergency telecommunications tree within their context. As UAV technology becomes integrated into Geographical Information Systems within National Disaster Offices, REGIONRAP allows for demonstration of how they can be effectively integrated into RRM operations.

Exercise REGIONRAP is supported by the Targeted Support to CDEMA Project under the outcome “Strengthened operational readiness to respond to natural disasters at the regional, sectoral, national and local levels.