ODPM: Three emergency shelters utilised in Tobago, none in Trinidad

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management says no emergency shelters were used in Trinidad but three were used in Tobago.

The OPDM is warning citizens to continue to exercise caution in the aftermath of the storm.

"The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) is advising citizens that the warning for Tropical Storm Bret has been lifted, according to the latest bulletin issued by the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Office (TTMET) at 5:00 am.

At 5:00 am, Tuesday June 20th, 2017, the centre of Tropical Storm Bret was located near 10.6ºN latitude 62.91ºW longitude or approximately160 km to the west of Trinidad and no longer poses a threat to the islands of interest.

However, localized rainfall can still be expected today with rain and/ or showers and possible thundershowers.

The ODPM has received reports that the following Regional Corporations were most impacted - Penal/ Debe, Mayaro/ Rio Claro, Tunapuna Piarco, San Juan/ Laventille, Diego Martin and the Arima Borough.

The National Emergency Operations Centre is still activated and first responder agencies are focused on the following:- ·

Initiating recovery and cleanup activities to begin, as soon as the water recedes,

· Prepositioning of all clean up equipment and machinery,

· All Disaster Management Units (DMU) of the 14 Municipal Corporations will start operations from as early as 6:00am providing the flood waters allow,

· Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members which are based in communities are feeding information to the DMUs,

· CERT members of each Municipality will conduct damage assessments,

· Continuation of the prepositioning of shelters:

· In Trinidad 55 Shelters have been Prepositioned/Prepared for activation – Zero (0) Shelters are open.

· In Tobago 17 Shelters have been Prepositioned/Prepared for activation – Three (3) Shelters are open.

Consequently, the ODPM advises citizens to:-

· Stay tuned to local news organizations, such as a radio or television station, for important announcements, bulletin, and instructions concerning the storm area, medical aid and other forms of assistance, such as food, water and shelter.

· Be careful to take certain precautions after the storm has passed. Damage to your home can have a dramatic emotional impact and it is best to have a plan to re-enter your home.

· Remember that you may not have immediate access to your home. Emergency rescue crews, power crews and other personnel may be attending to special needs. Roads could be blocked, power lines could be down and people may be trapped and in need of assistance.

· Make sure that you have current identification. You may have to pass through identification check points before being allowed access to your home/neighbourhood.

· Avoid driving on roads you know may be blocked or impassable.

· Avoid downed power lines even if they look harmless.

· Avoid metal fences and other metal objects near downed lines.

· DO NOT use matches in a storm ravaged area until all gas lines are checked for leaks (keep flashlights and plenty of batteries at hand).

· Avoid turning the power on at your home if there is flooding present. Have a professional conduct a thorough inspection first.

· Consider having professionals/licensed contractors inspect your home for damage and help in repairs. This includes electricians, as well as professionals to inspect gas lines, remove uprooted trees and check plumbing.

· Remember that downed or damaged trees can contain power lines that can be a hazard.

· Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents for insurance purposes.

· Use a camera or camcorder to record thoroughly any damage done to your home before any repairs are attempted.

· In certain areas, the flooding rains that accompany a storm can create pest problems. Be aware of potential pest problems in your area, such as mice, rats, insects or snakes that may have surfaced with the storm.

· Telephone lines will likely be busy in the area; use a phone only for emergencies. A Division of the Ministry of National Security

· Flooding brings with it the risk of waterborne bacterial contaminations.

· Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.

· You should assume that the water is not safe and use properly stored water or boil your tap water.

· These are just a few ideas to be thinking about before and after a severe storm hits. Remember to keep your radio tuned to a station issuing emergency bulletins and updates with the latest information.

We wish to underscore that Trinidad and Tobago is no longer under Tropical Storm Warning at this time.

Citizens are asked to resist following any social media posts or unauthorised messages which are not disseminated by the TTMET Office or published on the ODPM’s and Tobago Emergency Management Agency’s social media platforms.

The ODPM as the lead National Office for Disaster Management is coordinating with all relevant agencies, including the Regional Corporations’ Disaster Management Units and the Tobago Emergency Management Agency to prepare for the possibility of localized rainfall within the next 3 hours, as we continue to closely monitor this situation through the TTMET Office.

The ODPM reminds all citizens that should you be affected by this upcoming inclement weather, please contact our Customer Care Centre at 511 or Tobago Emergency Management Agency’s hotline number 211."