Review of Emergency Procedures in Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency Participating States

This initiative will contribute to the improvement of emergency response procedures and protocols in CDEMA Participating States through an evaluation of States’ readiness and response to Hurricane Matthew.


Hurricanes and storms are the most frequently occurring hazard affecting the Caribbean.  Every Caribbean island has experienced the direct effects of at least one hurricane or has had a disturbance in the island’s weather conditions due to a hurricane passing nearby.  Due to the frequency of hurricanes and storms, the countries of the region have put in place national disaster plans, which include hurricane/storm response plans.  

When a storm or hurricane approaches in the Caribbean region, authorities can initiate shutdown procedures as a precautionary measure. However, shutdowns can have a negative public perception. To tackle this issue, CDEMA is implementing the Review of Emergency Procedures Project. This initiative seeks to raise awareness of emergency response procedures among the general public.

National shutdowns were implemented in the Bahamas, Barbados and Haiti as a result of the approach of Hurricane Matthew in September 2016.  However, their implementation was affected by negative public perception regarding the usefulness and/or legality of the measures, following instances in which the hazard event failed to make impact at all or had a significantly lower impact than had been anticipated.  It is a widely held belief that negative perceptions about national shutdowns are perpetuated by a lack of awareness of the wide range of meteorological variables that may affect the outcome of an impending storm or hurricane.  

CDEMA has identified the need for strengthening the linkages between the general public and disaster planners in order to improve the understanding of emergency response procedures.  There is also a need for further strengthening of disaster response mechanisms at the national level, including through improved engagement between the national disaster organisations (NDOs) and the private sector organisations (PSOs) in preparation for a slow onset event.

Project outcome

The expected outcome of the project is the drafting of new guidelines for emergency response and national shutdown procedures in the CDEMA Participating States.

Project components

  • Evaluation of the readiness of four selected CDEMA Participating States impacted by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 
  • Recommendations for strengthening Protocols and Procedures for Readiness and Response, including guidance on how to reach the poorest and most vulnerable members of the societies considered (including the elderly, women and persons with disabilities)
  • Development of Plans of Action for strengthening national readiness and response, based on CDEMA Standard Guidelines for national shutdown procedures
  • Convening a regional workshop to review the draft Guidelines for national shutdown procedures


Evaluating the readiness of four selected CDEMA Participating States impacted by Hurricane Matthew in 2016:

  • Develop a suitable tool to support country assessments based on the CDEMA Model National Operations Checklist used to undertake an annual rapid assessment of the readiness of CDEMA participant states.
  • There will also be an examination of the appropriateness of national actions undertaken through a review of national After-Action Reviews (AARs) to determine whether appropriate actions were implemented and where gaps exist.

Developing recommendations for the revision of protocols and procedures and Plans of Action for strengthening national readiness and response:

  • Identify and make recommendations to inform the revision of national shutdown procedures and to draft plans of action for strengthening of national readiness and response
  • These will be validated through four national workshops in collaboration with the National Disaster Office (NDO), and supported by the CDEMA Coordinating Unit (CU).  
  • Development of draft Model Guidelines for national shutdown procedures which can be adapted by the various Participating States.

Convening a regional workshop to review the draft Standard or Model Guidelines for national shutdown procedures:

  • CDEMA CU will convene a Regional Workshop to provide the opportunity to regional participants to give feedback on the draft Model Guidelines.  The Regional Workshop will be supported by the Plan Development and Review Sub-committee (PDRSC) of the CDEMA Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). 
  • The main purpose of the PDRSC is to assist the CDEMA CU in the review and development of plans and procedures that will facilitate the effective and efficient functioning of the Regional Response Mechanism and its components.  
  • The Regional Workshop will also be supported by the membership of the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC) along with the National Disaster Offices, to provide an opportunity for feedback on the protocols and guidelines.  The Regional Workshop will be convened in one of the beneficiary countries.

Caribbean Tourism: Emergency procedures. Download the PDF version


Cost: EUR 127 644
Implementing agency: CDEMA
Granted by: CDB
Beneficiary countries: Barbados, Saint Lucia, Haiti and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Period: July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019