As the 2018 hurricane season approaches, the Barbadian public is being encouraged to prepare for as energetic a season as was experienced last year. The local business community is not exempted from these warnings and in response, was well represented at the two-day Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Seminar hosted by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) and Lynch Insurance Brokers at the Sandals Barbados Resort at the end of last month.
To facilitate the drive behind our private sector’s readiness, BCCI in partnership with Lynch Insurance Brokers, C&W Business, ICBL, Sol and Steamatic produced a seminar which educated patrons on how to reduce their risk and raise their response to disasters. Participants were offered two days of in-depth discussion and solutions and in addition to this, they received insightful first-hand reports from local businesses such as CIBC, C&W Business and Sol whose operations in neighbouring islands had been affected by last year’s active season.
The seminar emphasised the importance of public private sector partnerships to build resilience and in that regard featured Mandela Christian of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and Ms. Kerry Hinds of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) who brought their expertise on their level of involvement in managing a disaster at national and regional levels. DEM also introduced their new app CAP.CAP, which participants were invited to download to their devices to receive alerts on natural disasters affecting the island.
To take the notion of readiness a bit further, Mr. Gregory Rose of Lynch Brokers urged businesses to not only focus on hurricanes but to invest in a general disaster management plan to ensure survival in the face of any interruption.
On day two, participating sponsors took the rein to bring attention to specific areas such as: developing a business continuity plan, using insurance as a risk mitigating tool and the importance of communication and data protection. Lynch and their partners Marsh Risk Consulting provided advice of how to implement a business continuity plan and gave a scenario walk-through. Insurance readiness was also a fundamental topic at the workshop. Participants eagerly participated in a quiz which allowed them to accumulate ‘points’ based on their knowledge of insurance, risk identification and assessment. Statistics were also utilized to reinforce the prominence which technology has taken in our lives and why it was crucial to protect information for longevity. Through these breakout sessions, practical exercises were instrumental in creating authentic content and receiving pragmatic advice, leaving patrons in a position to better prepare for disaster.
The takeaways from the events were that: Disasters can strike at any time and therefore one must always be prepared; One must be willing to learn from mistakes and lessons of others; Develop a DRR framework around which businesses can build their strategies. Leaders were also reminded that their people are their greatest assets and businesses should make it a priority to look after them and to remember that the ‘after the disaster’ plan is just as critical as preparation before and during the event.
The BCCI wishes to thank those who attended the BCCI Lynch Brokers DRR Seminar and continues to urge businesses to work together to build resilience as a nation. It is the chamber’s intention to host other information sessions in the near future which will educate on building resilience for businesses.