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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

FEMA hosts 2024 Caribbean Readiness Initiative in PR

By The Star Staff

Top island and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials met in Puerto Rico from April 29 to May 10 to participate in the 2024 Caribbean Readiness Initiative and strengthen preparedness capabilities to ensure that the island’s emergency response structure is ready in the event of any type of emergency incident, as the upcoming hurricane season approaches.

“At the beginning of hurricane seasons, we are always asked if the government is prepared. This type of initiative is part of that government preparedness, both at the municipal, state, and federal level, to be able to manage any emergency that may occur, during hurricane season or at any time. That is why the emphasis is that the community must be prepared,” said Nino Correa Filomeno, commissioner of the Bureau of Emergency Management and Disaster Administration (NMEAD by its Spanish acronym). “The government will respond, but it is important that everyone is prepared at the individual, family, and community level.”

The Caribbean Area Readiness Initiative is an annual series of workshops, training, meetings, and sessions that FEMA coordinates with emergency managers from federal, state, municipal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector to discuss critical topics and build up the knowledge and capabilities needed to improve Puerto Rico’s readiness and response postures before the start of the hurricane season.

“The current weather situation is a reminder that everyone needs to be prepared for all types of emergencies, even when the start of the hurricane season is a few weeks away,” noted Orlando Olivera, coordinator of the FEMA Caribbean Area Office in Puerto Rico, in reference to the torrential rains that have swamped the island over the past few days.

The 2024 Readiness Initiative includes supporting NMEAD with seminars throughout the island to ensure that municipal officials are up to date on FEMA programs and policies. During the seminars, FEMA subject matter experts in individual assistance, public assistance, hazard mitigation and FEMA grants share information and guidance with emergency managers and first responders from the island’s 78 municipalities regarding debris management plans, response and recovery processes, grant management, and training, among other topics.

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