Disaster Agencies Benefit from 2-Day Workshop


Over 30 representatives of several key disaster response agencies and organisations across the island, are currently participating in a two-day workshop being jointly staged by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), which aims to equip them with the requisite knowledge to prepare for and respond to earthquakes.
The workshop, which commenced today (December 2) at the Morgan’s Harbour Hotel and Marina, Port Royal, forms part of a regional programme of activities being undertaken by CDEMA, through its Earthquake Readiness Capacity Building Project (ERCBP) in four Caribbean countries, with Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, and St. Kitts and Nevis, being the other three.
The pilot project is being undertaken in tandem with local disaster management agencies, targeting key disaster response stakeholders. The initiative is being pursued within the context of CDEMA’s cognisance of the region’s limitations in preparing for, surviving and recovering from earthquakes. The Jamaican leg is being undertaken with support from the Austrian Government.
Activities have been held in the other three countries to promote a comprehensive approach to disaster management planning that incorporates earthquake preparedness at the community and national levels.
The two-day workshop aims to: build national capacity by developing a cadre of communicators, trained in earthquake safety promotion to specific groups; reinforce earthquake safety best practice among various critical audience segments; promote the effective delivery of earthquake safety messaging to specific audiences; analyse issues aimed at promoting compliance among various target groups; orient disaster management and related practitioners in the use of audience-specific safety tool kits; and enhance the content of safety tool kits designed to deliver available information suitable to inform local/national audiences.
Programme Officer with the ERCBP, Ms. Sally Pile, told JIS News that the agencies from which representatives currently being trained, include the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Jamaica Red Cross, and Parish Disaster Committees. She said that on completion of the training, the participants will be better equipped to sensitise individuals within communities, in particular homeowners, the elderly, and children, on the appropriate responses and actions they should in the event of an earthquake.
Ms. Pile informed that the programme is expected to be formally rolled out in all 18 member states of the CDEMA, on completion of the pilot phase.

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