The challenge

The hurricane season between June and November brings storms and torrential rainfall to the Caribbean,  devastating families and businesses and seriously affecting tourism dependent economies.

The best defence against such disasters is to be prepared, and educate people how to take the necessary actions before the next hurricane hits. This will minimise risks and improve their chances of survival.

Preparing for the worst case

Knowledge of first aid and what to do when disaster strikes is vital for Caribbean communities. Following a disaster, local rescue units are often overwhelmed with huge numbers of injured people while ambulances are unable to reach remote victims due to the devastation. Rural inhabitants will frequently have to provide for themselves for several days or weeks.

Therefore it is crucial that they have the knowledge and skills to do so. St John works with local people by training them how to prepare and protect their families and how to help their friends, neighbours and the community at large after a hurricane. Based on their own needs we are building more resilient communities and reducing the demands placed upon the emergency services.

What we do

First aid training

St John teaches specially designed first aid courses to people in the local communities, developing skills which can be used when disaster strikes. This locally informed guidance also includes information about health priorities in a post disaster situation, such as treating contaminated water.

Household Preparedness Measures

St John helps communities to prepare for a disaster at the household level. People learn how to inspect their buildings and repair vulnerable parts, how to tape windows, leave doors ajar to prevent pressure build ups, and to place emergency bags next to household exits.

Our impact

Post disaster feedback from people trained by St John report that they were more prepared for storms and were able to stay focused in an emergency. They feel more capable of protecting themselves, their families and communities.

The positive impact on the people who’ve been trained is overwhelming. We need to continue because it is necessary for saving lives.

Glenn Wilson, Disaster Preparedness Trainer, St John Saint Lucia 

Our plans

Our disaster preparedness programme started in 2010. Recognising the increasing trend for destructive hurricanes in the Caribbean, we aim to expand our efforts to Barbados, Bermuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, allowing us to reach more households in high risk areas.

We also want to increase the work we do in schools, because children readily understand the issues and are eager to transfer their knowledge to family, friends and neighbours.