A Prelude to Preparedness: My Experience in the Pre-Commonwealth conference Exercise

By Uale Tofilau 05 February 2024, 11:00AM

In the spirit of solidarity and preparedness, Samoa geared up for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting scheduled for October 2024. As an active volunteer with the Samoa Red Cross Society, I found myself deeply involved in a comprehensive exercise orchestrated by various entities, including the Samoa Police, Prisons and Corrections Services, Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA), Ministry of Health (MOH), Taumeasina Island Resort team, and Airport authorities from Faleolo. The primary goal was to ensure a seamless and secure environment for the arrival of distinguished guests, including King Charles, and the subsequent conference activities.

The exercise kicked off on the first day at Faleolo Airport, the designated arrival point for King Charles. The scenario simulated protests orchestrated by police officers representing nations attending the conference. In my role as a volunteer for the Samoa Red Cross Society, my team and I stood vigilantly alongside roads, focusing on the safety of the people. Our primary responsibility was to be the first responders, providing vital first aid when needed. Divided into teams strategically placed in the villages along King Charles's route to Sinalei, we were poised to play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and well-being of all involved.

The second day brought forth two distinct exercises. In Tuanaimato, designated as Area 1 for the conference opening, the scenario included a simulated car accident amidst police protests. Our role was clear – offer immediate first aid to those involved in the car crash and attend to any protesters who required medical attention. Simultaneously, in Area 2 at Taumeasina Island Resort, a distressing situation unfolded with a woman drowning. The police swiftly responded, rescuing her from the water. Once on the shore, my team and I, as first aiders, provided necessary care and performed CPR before transferring the individual to the hospital.

The third day tested our mettle with a dual disaster drill, involving an earthquake and a tsunami simulation. Positioned in different zones, our task was to guide people to evacuation areas, ensuring their safety in the face of potential natural disasters. The comprehensive nature of these exercises not only provided invaluable practical experience but also instilled in us the importance of being prepared for the unpredictable nature of the future.

Beyond the surface level, these practices were more than just a series of staged events. They were a collective effort to fortify our community's resilience and responsiveness. As we immersed ourselves in these scenarios, we acknowledged that preparedness was not a luxury but a necessity. The unpredictability of life demands that we remain ready, both individually and as a community, to face any challenge that may arise.

In conclusion, the pre-Commonwealth Conference exercise was a testament to the collaborative spirit and commitment of Samoa in ensuring the safety and well-being of its people. It served as a reminder that preparation is a shared responsibility, and by being vigilant and proactive, we can build a more secure and resilient future for all.


By Uale Tofilau 05 February 2024, 11:00AM
Samoa Observer

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