PORT ANTONIO — The Portland Parish Disaster Committee is undertaking a public education programme aimed at sensitising residents about the importance of disaster preparedness and mitigation.
The initiative got underway in April but gained momentum in June, which is being observed as Disaster Preparedness Month under the theme: ‘Building disaster resilient communities…our first line of defence'.
In an interview with JIS News, Coordinator of the Portland Parish Disaster Committee, Denise Lewis, informed that visits have been made to schools and communities where person were sensitised on how to prepare and respond to hazards such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis.
The training of approximately 30 persons across the parish on shelter management, administration of first aid, search and rescue and initial damage assessment, is also being undertaken.
The Parish Disaster Coordinator informed a public education campaign will be launched shortly in the communities of Skibo and Manchioneal, while site visits will be made to beaches in St. Margaret’s Bay and Orange Bay to assess beach erosion and undertake vulnerability capacity assessment (VAC).
While urging persons to support the public education initiatives, Mrs. Lewis said she was pleased with the level of response and participation received from schools and community organisations visited during the campaign.
She said it is important for every community member, household and business place to implement a disaster response plan, noting that a proactive approach must be taken to minimise the impact of these events.
Mrs. Lewis said that based on the preparedness of the various response agencies, zonal communities and community members, the parish is 80 per cent ready to effectively respond and mitigate the effects of any disaster that may occur.
Meanwhile, she informed that a poetry contest on hazard preparation and prevention will be held at the Portland Parish Library on Friday (June 17), beginning at 11:00 am. The competition is open to primary and all-age schools, however, the public is invited to support the initiative.
By LORNA WILLIAMS, JIS Reporter