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Common Alerting Protocol To Be Established In TCI

Presenters and attendees at the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) Workshop.

The Turks and Caicos Islands, headed by the National Weather Service, is working to establish a Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) to warn the public on impending disasters and other critical matters.

A two-day workshop to pan-out how the protocol would be fashioned was held at Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort and Spa between Tuesday, May 9 and Wednesday, May, involving regional and international partners, along with a host of local stakeholders, including the Department for Disaster Management and Emergency (DDME), the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, 911, and the TCI Regiment.

Eliot Christian, of Alert-Hub Community Interest Company (CIC), USA

The consultants for the event included, Eliot Christian, of Alert-Hub Community Interest Company (CIC), USA; Rodney Martinez of World Meteorological Organization (WMO); Haley Anderson, of the Caribbean Meteorological Organization (CMO); and Stephanie Gallasch, also of the WMO.

Dr. Holly Hamilton, Director of Meteorology at the Turks and Caicos Islands Whether Service, at the TCI Airports Authority.

She pointed out that the goal of the workshop was to learn about the Common Alerting Protocol, which she highlighted as an essential tool that can be used for disseminating emergency alerts or notices through multiple channels such as phones, emails, television, radio and social media platforms.

“We want, at the end of this workshop, to have a functioning tool that at least the Weather Service and the DDME can utilize,” Hamilton said, noting that currently the various agencies operate in silos, using their own protocol. However, she pointed out that the Common Alerting Protocol, when implemented, would serve all those agencies.

Dr. Holly Hamilton, Director of Meteorology at the Turks and Caicos Islands Whether Service,

“Currently, what we have in place now is that we have different agencies with their messages sent out…disseminating their messages to the media, whether it is Radio Turks and Caicos or messaging through phone.

“The hope is that we can get something functioning at the end of the two-day workshop, or in a month or so,” Hamilton pointed out.

She said the workshop was also designed to hammer out what the tool would look like, and who would be responsible for it.

“But the goal is to have something off the ground soon, and hopefully by the hurricane season,” she further noted.

In the meantime, Hamilton said they are working on having fully-functioning weather service, she said worked was being feverishly done to achieve.

“We kind of did a soft launch of the Whether Service. We are still in our infancy, but we just want to establish ourselves. We will be introducing a strategic plan, and with that, hopefully, we can get legislation in place.

Haley Anderson, of the Caribbean Meteorological Organization (CMO)

“But I just want people to know that there is something happening in the background to establish ourselves at the Weather Service, so that we can have a brand, and people can appreciate the services that we are trying to provide so far,” Hamilton pointed out.

She noted that up to the recent past, the Turks and Caicos Islands depended on the Bahamas for whether information. However, sometime last year government had a soft launch for a local weather service, to ensure that timely weather information can be ascertained.

She pointed out that while the TCI would depend on the Bahamas for information, such information was tailed specifically for that country, but the TCI could still draw information relevant to local weather from that information.

“The Bahamas, as you would know is responsible for the watches and warnings when it comes to hurricanes…tropical cyclones, also, in terms of aviation, because that is an important user of met information as well. They would produce information forecast for the aerodromes and so forth.

Rodney Martinez of World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

“They would also share their public forecast, which is not necessarily forecasting for the Turks and Caicos, but you can extrapolate.

“The goal here is now being able to localize the information, providing actionable, timely information for the public of Turks and Caicos, and so, we are working towards that,” Hamilton revealed.


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