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The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is assuring the public that there will be minimal disruption of business activities during the New Kingston Earthquake Drill on June 7.
Nadine Newsome, Director of Information and Training at ODPEM, explained that because the drill would not involve the entire New Kingston business community, persons conducting business in the area, should not be anxious about the event. “We will certainly not be obstructing traffic in the area,” she said at a recent JIS Think Tank.
The drill, she further expounded, was organised to prevent as little dislocation as possible and will start at 10:00 a.m. The event will entail the activation of internal alarms, and in some cases, sirens for approximately two minutes.
During those two minutes, which will represent an earthquake, participants in the drill are expected to first protect themselves before commencing the evacuation process when the alarm has ended. Persons will be expected to use the evacuation routes outlined in order to reach the designated assembly points, which are safe areas.
“We expect the entire activity not to last more than an hour, as we will have only a sample population of the area participating,” informed Gary Francis, Chair of the Internal Business and Management.
In terms of the conduct of business during the drill, Ms. Newsome said that all participating agencies were expected to develop their own internal procedures for dealing with clients during the event.
“For banks in the area, they will have to develop procedures for those who are participating, for how they will manage persons, who are conducting business in the organization during the time of the drill,” she pointed out.
“This is an important aspect for them to test during the drill and it will invariably form part of their emergency preparedness procedure,” Ms. Newsome added.
The planning committee for the drill has also taken into account, the number of persons with disabilities working in organisations participating in the drill. Mr. Francis said that all such persons have been identified and special provisions have been made to ensure their safety.
Both members of the planning committee expect that the drill will run smoothly as the participating entities will be fully sensitised, briefed and trained prior to the event.