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FEMA meets for annual Caribbean Readiness Initiative

The preparedness efforts are ongoing and will continue through coming months.

Puerto Rico and FEMA officials held meetings in Puerto Rico to discuss the 2024 Caribbean Readiness Initiative and strengthen preparedness capabilities. The goal is to ensure that the island’s emergency response structure is ready to support 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 … at the municipal, state and federal levels to be able to manage any emergency that may arise during hurricane season and at any time. That is why we emphasize that the community must be prepared,” stated Nino Correa-Filomeno, commissioner of the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Bureau (PREMB).

“The government will respond, but it’s important that everyone is prepared at the individual, family and community level. We continue to work hand in hand with FEMA to continue helping our island,” he added.

The initiative consists of an annual series of workshops, trainings, meetings and sessions where FEMA collaborates with emergency managers from at federal, state and municipal agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations and the private sector to discuss critical topics and build up the knowledge and capabilities needed to improve the island’s readiness and response strategies before the hurricane season begins.

“During these two weeks, Puerto Rico and key federal personnel were immersed in discussions about the requirements to restore critical infrastructure such as power, water and other essential services. We also talked about debris management, available resources and how Puerto Rico will determine whether federal resources are necessary to support the response and recovery of the island,” said Orlando Olivera, coordinator of the FEMA Caribbean Area Office in Puerto Rico.

“We’re working with Puerto Rico officials to strengthen their readiness. Individuals at home and work should also start preparing for emergencies,” he noted. “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.”

The initiative also supports the PREMB with seminars throughout the island to keep municipal officials up to date on FEMA programs and policies. In these seminars, FEMA experts in Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, Hazard Mitigation and grants provide guidance to emergency managers and first responders from the island’s 78 municipalities on such matters as debris management plans, response and recovery processes, grant management and training.

These collaboration and readiness efforts do not end this week. In the upcoming weeks and months, FEMA will support PREMB with its Readiness Summit and later host the 2024 Governor’s Executive Tabletop Exercise, involving all secretaries and agency heads, to discuss emergency management priorities and other key topics to bolster readiness and response postures.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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