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JIS News

Fewer rescue operations were carried out in St. Thomas during Tropical Storm Gustav, due to residents having heeded the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management’s (ODPEM) calls for early evacuation in flood prone areas.
Deputy Superintendent of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Denzil Roper, told JIS News, that residents near river banks and in flood prone areas had evacuated early, resulting in the Brigade carrying out fewer rescue operations during the storm.
“More people heeded the warnings of early evacuation and as a result of that the Brigade and other departments, received fewer calls for rescue operations,” he said.
Mr. Roper attributed this to the hard work of the members of the St Thomas Parish Disaster Committee, who had helped to sensitise residents about the need for early evacuation.
Previously, he said, the fire department would have responded to calls for rescue from persons in flood prone area, such as Bamboo River, Golden Grove, Poorman’s Corner, Cottage Pen, Brown’s Gully, and Seaforth. He noted that the majority of persons from these communities had moved to designated shelters before the storm.
According to Mr. Roper, the Brigade responded to four calls only, from persons who had remained in their communities during the storm.
Mr. Roper said that there was need for mandatory evacuation from some vulnerable communities in the parish, noting that in some areas it would be impossible for the Brigade to reach persons during the height of the storm.
“It is always best to get out before things become too challenging,” he advised.