Trinidad and Tobago launches emergency warning system

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The Public Alert Notification System (PANS), that allows emergency alert information to be shared on a nationwide scale, has been officially launched by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM).

The aim of PANS will be to caution citizens about current or impending emergencies which may face the country and disasters such as floods.

Speaking during a recent press conference the ODMP’s Operations Manager Dennis Marcelle explained how PANS would work.

“Through our day-to-day operations the ODPM will look at these various pieces of information which come to us, we assess the situation and then based on the level of threat perceived we can then generate an alert through this system through multiple platforms,” he said.

The launch actually occurred the same day when the country’s entire school population was sent into panic and confusion as bomb threats were sent to schools via mass email.

National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds who also spoke at the launch said such a warning measure would not only be of tremendous importance to the public but it would also ensure that the correct information is disseminated and therefore, save valuable resources.

“Putting false information into the atmosphere and creating chaos, confusion and panic and a waste of police, prison, fire and the ODPM’s and other resources in a time when we can least afford it,” Hinds said.

ODPM’s CEO Rodney Smart also advised persons to download the app for the Public Alert Notification System (PANS) to receive alerts.

He explained the difference between the app and other instant messaging is that with PANS the notification can be location specific and not nationwide.

Smart further noted that the system, which costs ODPM TT$400 000 annually, is backed by Everbridge app, which is also used in New York and other major cities and has been used by local agencies without encountering any problems.

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