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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Predictions given in May were for an overly active 2013 season
  • Historically, August to September is when Jamaica is always affected.
  • ODPEM is urging schools to use the remaining summer holidays to ensure that their institutions are hurricane ready

With the 2013 hurricane season approaching its most active period, Jamaicans are being urged to increase their preparedness efforts.

Predictions given in May were for an overly active 2013 season with a 70 per cent likelihood of up to 17 named storms and as many as 10 developing into hurricanes.

Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Acting Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Richard Thompson, informed that historically, August to September is when Jamaica is always affected.

“So now is the time to be putting all your preparedness mechanisms in motion and ensure that you are safe throughout the season. Sandy was a late season hurricane and I think it was the first time Jamaica was affected by a hurricane outside of September,” Mr. Thompson said.

He noted that everyone should be engaging in hurricane preparedness activities such as roof retrofitting and trimming of trees.

“All agencies of government are working to ensure that drains are properly cleaned and the public needs to ensure the drains remain clean by not dumping stuff into the drains. Collectively we have to do something as well to ensure that the drains are properly maintained and ensure that you have your supplies,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the ODPEM head is urging schools to use the remaining summer holidays to ensure that their institutions are hurricane ready.

Mr. Thompson stressed that now is the time for schools to take the necessary precautions to safeguard equipment and property in the event of a storm.

“Check all the roofs, check the entire complex and look at your windows. Now is the ideal time for the schools to do all the roof retrofitting. For those schools without hurricane straps … now is the ideal time for schools to (put them in),” he said.

Mr. Thompson further informed that schools should have suitable protocols in place in the event of a storm or other emergencies. He pointed out that they can contact ODPEM for assistance in developing these plans.