Monday, August 10 – The Public Information and Education (PIE) Sub-committee of the National Disaster Management Council (NDMC) will focus on heightening public awareness about protecting property and recovery efforts as part of its educational awareness programme this month.

Experts in the area of preparedness state that mitigation is the most effective way to protect your home, business and belongings from the ravaging effects of a disaster.

Building Authority Supervisor Mr. Perry Penn told the Department of Information and Public Relations in a radio interview that it is important for persons who are building their homes to be part of the process.  “Do not give your drawings to a contractor and have him build the house while you the owner know nothing about it,” he said.

“You have to be in tune with the professionals and be involved in the design and construction of your building,” Mr. Penn added.

Senior Technical Planning Manager in the Department of Disaster Preparedness (DDM) Ms. Cynthia Rolli said before persons buy a plot of land and even if they already own the land, they can visit the DDM to get information regarding the area where the land is located.  “There are a lot of areas that are mapped out which are prone to landslides, earthquakes and vulnerable to wind hazards. This is information we can provide to you prior to purchasing the land or building on it if you already have the land,” she said.

Ms. Rolli added, “this information can be utilised by your engineer and architect so that they can design and build your house accordingly.  You may invest a little more at the beginning in order to mitigate against having to spend a lot of money after a disaster occurs.”

She said the full assessment of a property has a fee of $75 and larger developments cost a bit more to assess.

Both Mr. Penn and Ms. Rolli spoke about the importance of preventing soil erosion. Ms. Rolli said there are a lot of erosion issues, some of which are caused by persons excavating and leaving the pile of dirt in the area which is then washed away by the rain and subsequently clogs the ghuts.
Mr. Penn explained that the erosion issue can be avoided if the owners do the proper thing at construction.  “One of the problems that exist at the construction site is over excavation of the land.  Leaving the land naked without the proper retaining wall is the worst thing that can be done because when there is excessive rain the land is washed down onto the road which creates a problem for vehicular traffic,” he said.

As part of disaster education and awareness activities, the PIE sub-committee will be producing a series of programmes and printed material to help create awareness and supply the public with safety tips on property protection and recovery after a disaster.  

The subject of property protection and recovery will be the topics of discussion on August 13, 17 and 24 GIS Radio Reports produced by the Department of Information and Public Relations. During this week, the topics “How to Protect Your Property” and “How to Recover from a Disaster” will be highlighted on ZBVI’s The Almanac.

The National Disaster Management Council (NDMC) is chaired by His Excellency the Governor and coordinates disaster preparedness and response readiness activities. The NDMC’s Public Information and Education sub-committee promotes public awareness of hazards and disasters, among other responsibilities.