• JIS News

    Director General for the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Dr. Barbara Carby has urged the business community to begin practising earthquake drills as part of its preparations for an earthquake.
    She also singled out business entities, which are participating in the upcoming New Kingston Earthquake Drill on June 7, to set up the appropriate structures and to commence practising at least once before the event.
    Dr. Carby made these remarks at the launch of the New Kingston Earthquake Drill on January 11, at the headquarters of ODPEM on South Camp Road.
    “We will be asking businesses to set up internal committees to plan their drills to make sure they have in place all the elements that they will need,” she explained.
    “They should have in place safety wardens for each floor, procedures that govern their emergency exits, and lighting for emergency routes. There should also be procedures for getting their staff members who may be disabled out of the building and for clients who may have disabilities,” the Director General added.
    Also on hand at the launch was Lola Fong-White, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), who pledged the support of her organisation’s membership.
    “We are going to ensure that all our members are fully aware of what can happen during an earthquake and encourage persons to put their support fully behind the drill and other efforts in terms of disaster preparedness,” she said.
    Businesses, the CEO said, should appreciate the importance of doing drills, as it was necessary in being prepared for disasters.
    She added that too often persons appeared annoyed when having to participate in drills. “People see them as a nuisance and as a waste of time and are generally unsupportive,” she said, and implored persons to “get past” such feelings because, in the long run, preparation was the key to saving lives in the event of an earthquake.
    Meanwhile, the earthquake of note last year occurred on June 12 at 10:58 p.m. with a magnitude of 5.1. The epicentre of the quake was located in south west St. Ann and there was reported damage to some properties in the area.