OPM/ODPEM Host Disaster Preparedness Seminar

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) staged a seminar in Montego Bay yesterday (March 27) to sensitize representatives of Government, and related organizations and groups about preparedness.
The aim of the seminar was to heighten the readiness levels of these entities so that in the event of a disaster, they would lead the charge in responding positively at the community levels until external help is available.
Cheryl Nichols, of the ODPEM, told JIS News that the seminar was being held in light of the 100th anniversary of the 1907 earthquake and the fact that after 100 years, another earthquake could occur.
“We have had recurrent issues of flooding in Montego Bay. We have had an earthquake last month that had its epicenter closer to Montego Bay than to Kingston and a number of other hazards that from time to time had to be dealt with, so it’s necessary that the message is carried across the entire country. Disasters do happen and as Jamaicans we owe it to ourselves to be prepared,” Ms. Nichols stated.
She pointed out that a number of key responders in any disaster, such as the police, the fire department and environmental agencies, were targeted for the seminar, including community persons and other interests.
“Disasters are not respecters of whom we are or where we are. It will take place whenever, wherever or however, therefore we have to ensure that a wide cross section of persons are targeted for the sensitization programme,” Ms. Nichols told JIS News.
Meanwhile, Project Manager in the Office of the Prime Minister, Montego Bay office, Calvin G. Brown noted that disasters were very costly, hence the necessity for disaster mitigation measures.
“We at the OPM feel that it is our responsibility to ensure that everybody is on board in respect of disaster preparedness. We need to ensure that all our agencies are prepared in the event of any disaster . and are in a position to lead the rest of the communities in responding to such disasters,” Mr. Brown told JIS News.
Some 40 representatives of government-related groups and business organizations from across western Jamaica participated in the seminar.

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