Police disaster response “work in progress”
The ability of the Samoa Police Service to respond effectively to natural disasters is still a “work in progress”.
Speaking on the sidelines of the recent launching of the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC), Police Commissioner Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, said the Police still had a long way to go and need training and equipment.
“Our part is the front liners so when there is a natural emergency, Police and Fire Emergency is the first front liners and of course assisted by Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment – through Disaster Management Office – and other organisations like Red Cross so it’s a collaborative effort,” he said in an interview with the Samoa Observer.
“We are primary agencies that respond to these types of disturbances at a national level. But it’s a work in progress, I think it needs building up, I can’t say we are 100 per cent that we are ready to encounter anything that comes along – we need more training, more equipment.”
The Police Commissioner also acknowledged the significant role that the NEOC will play in mitigating the effects of natural disasters.
“There is a lot of work that needs to be done and it can be done, with this center (NEOC) here and everything will blend in. I am looking forward to this collaboration through the technology – and bringing all the different ministries that are relative to this and work collaboratively – to achieve that goal.”
“It is very important for all the frontline agencies to come together in sharing information, and provide that service to protect Samoa respond – to not only civil disturbances but also natural disturbances,” he added.