JIS News

The parishes of Hanover and Westmoreland are fine-tuning activities for Earthquake Awareness Week, which will be observed from January 8 to 16 under the theme: ‘Prepare Now! Don’t Wait.Be ready for the next Earthquake’.
During that period there will be visits to schools, businesses and hotels in the two parishes to give talks on earthquake awareness, and to carry out evacuation drills.
Disaster Preparedness Co-ordinator for the parish of Hanover, Desmond Dorman told JIS News that schools are scheduled to re-open on January 9, and plans include visits to some 15 schools within the parish during the course of the week. The schools to be visited in Hanover include Lucea Primary, Lucea Preparatory, Esher Primary, Churchill and Kendal Primary, Bethel and Sandy Bay Primary and Junior High and Cacoon Primary.
He pointed out that assistance in spreading the disaster preparedness message would be received from resource persons drawn from the Hanover Parish Council Poor Relief Department, the Fire Department and the Police.
“We will also be targeting the growing tourism sector within the parish, as we believe that our visitors, being in unfamiliar environment, may be more unsure of what to do in the event of such a disaster, than our locals,” Mr. Dorman said, adding that in this regard, the Hanover Disaster Preparedness Committee was looking at incorporating talks and drills within the tourism sector in this year’s public education campaign.
In Westmoreland, the Disaster Preparedness Co-ordinator, Hilma Tate, told JIS News that activities similar to those planned for Hanover would be carried out in the parish.
She explained that letters would be sent to all the schools in the parish reminding them about the importance of the observance of the week, and making appointments to visit a number of them to give talks during the week.
“Additionally, we will be including a media blitz within our parish programme through the several local cable and radio stations within this parish,” she noted. She added that an attempt was now being made to review the parish disaster response plan, which has been in place for years.
Miss Tate pointed out that over the years, public education on disaster preparedness has been taking place within the parish, with several evacuation drills done in schools and at the Savanna-la-Mar hospital on one occasion.
She emphasized that nothing would be taken for granted during the public education campaign, and informing people about the benefits of being alert and prepared would be the main focus.