Caroline was — luckily or unluckily, depending on how you look at it — already in the Caribbean, helping to conduct, of all things, a disaster preparedness training in nearby Barbados in her role as Deputy Global ETC Coordinator. The team was acutely aware that Hurricane Dorian was on its way and had to conduct the training while also tracking the storm.
“One facilitator had to be prepositioned in the Bahamas ahead of the hurricane so he’d be able to respond,” says Caroline. “It definitely added a real-life dimension to the training, as we were explaining the importance of preparedness and what happens when we have to deploy to an emergency while we were doing exactly that.”
It was a near-perfect deployment scenario as not only was there an experienced coordinator close enough to deploy, but many key ETC partners were also in Barbados with full emergency equipment kits ready to go.
In an unusually quick and tidy operation, the ETC had deployed, set up critical services, and then packed up again within three weeks. “I was very happy with the coordination of the partners on the ground and [in that sense] it was one of the smoothest operations. We were lucky with the people that we had there as most knew everyone from previous operations and training over the years.” Responding in an emergency with familiar faces around you makes all the difference and can help to create small but special moments — one well-known partner pausing an assessment with Caroline to save a baby turtle that had been washed up and stranded on the road is an example.