JIS News

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) will be undertaking a comprehensive education programme in western Jamaica as part of activities for Earthquake Awareness Week from January 9 to 15.
The programme, which includes sensitisation sessions, drills and simulation exercises, will target residents in Trelawny, St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland. The aim is to increase the general awareness of the public about the importance of preparing for an earthquake.
A sensitisation session for primary and secondary schools on Earthquake Awareness Day, Wednesday, January 13, has been planned to reach approximately 5,000 students. Businesses will receive special instruction on ‘Earthquake awareness day for businesses,’ which will be observed on Thursday, January 14 and Friday, January 15.
Disaster Preparedness Co-ordinator for Westmoreland, Ms. Hilma Tate, told JIS News that the parish had already started to implement its education programme with visits to schools, businesses/organisations, and radio interviews.
“I am hoping that through these initiatives, persons will become more informed on measures to be taken before, during and after an earthquake. I want to inform and remind the public that earthquakes can occur at anytime so they need to be prepared. There are certain things that we need to put in place to ensure that we minimise the effects of the disaster. I further want to encourage all residents, businesses and groupings within townships and communities to ensure that they carry out drills and simulation exercises from time to time and also to ensure that emergency supplies are in place,” Ms. Tate said.
She advised that during an earthquake, persons “need to protect themselves by getting under something that can protect them from serious injuries. They need to observe the ‘duck, cover, hold’ technique as they get under a table, in the doorway, under a bed and so on. If they are outside when an earthquake strikes, they need to stay there, but away from walls, trees, utility poles and away from septic pits. If they are inside a building, as early as the tremor stops, they need to evacuate as quickly as possible and never return unless someone assesses it and informs them when it is safe to do so.”
Disaster Preparedness Co-ordinator for Trelawny, Dion Hylton-Lewis, told JIS News that sensitisation programmes targeting both adults and students are on-going within the parish but two schools – Salt Marsh Primary and Wait-A-Bit All-age will be the focus during the week of activities.
“We will be making presentations to students to hopefully raise their awareness levels on earthquakes and how they can be more prepared to deal effectively with these disasters. Special emphasis will be placed on preparing students, their teachers as well as their parents for an earthquake drill to be carried out at the Wait-A-Bit All Age School. This is expected to be a real test of the level of preparedness of the parish, as all the relevant agencies and organisations such as the Police, Fire Brigade, Ministry of Health among others will participate in the drill,” she informed.
Earthquake Awareness Week is being observed under the theme: ‘Learn, plan, prepare … the next big quake could be near!’

Skip to content