JIS News

This year as Earthquake Awareness Week is observed, and activities spearheaded by the ODPEM, the nation has been reminded that necessary precautions must be taken on a continuous basis as quakes have no season and can strike at any time.
It is with this in mind that the Bethabara Primary and Junior High, in Manchester, for many years has made its students aware of the dangers of natural hazards such as earthquakes.
For its safety awareness programmes and rigorous engagement in knowledge imparting of ways for persons to be safe during hazard emergencies, the school won the Alpart Safety Competition “because our displays demonstrated creativity,” states Safety Coordinator at Bethabara, Joan Blackwood-Simpson.
Explaining the school’s earthquake awareness activities, Mrs. Blackwood-Simpson, who is also President of the Alpart Home, Street and School Safety programme, tells JIS News that, “we meet regularly with our 16 safety monitors, two from each Grade, (and) they are engaged in training and information sessions with Alpart. We stage earthquake drills… a bell is used to alert our students, when they hear that sound, they know that they should run for cover- and that cover is under a door jamb, (or) a table and (they know) that they should stay away from poles and trees”.
For Principal of the institution, Daniel Monteith teaching and encouraging safety is as important as any other subject area. “You know when a hurricane is coming, but an earthquake comes when you are unaware, so we have to create the awareness, and constantly remind our students what to do if it should occurs,” he says.
“We are grateful for the Alpart programme, because the students who participate in it, they come back and impart to the other students what earthquake awareness and general safety is all about, and I would say the impact of it is, the school population knows that they should stay away from dangerous places at all times,” Mr. Monteith states.
“Safety is a very vital ingredient in the running of any organization, and this school has linked up with the Alpart Home, Street and Schools Safety programme, which plays a very crucial role in safety endeavours,” he explains.
Speaking of his company’s school safety programme, Managing Director of Alpart, Alberto Fabrini, says it has helped the participants to develop their knowledge on the protection of the environment, and healthy lifestyles.
“There are important values attached to this programme in terms of accident prevention, a safe and clean environment, character development, and healthy lifestyle. It tells us that there is a continuing learning process among our students in safety awareness. This has given us important partnership with our teachers and the extended Alpart family in the Essex Valley and South Manchester communities where we do our mining,” he informs.
Grade Six student at Bethabara, and safety monitor, Shaniek Richards, pinpoints the necessary actions that should be taken when an earthquakes strikes.
“It is important that if an earthquake should come up on us, which would be sudden, we should stand in an open area, or between a door jamb, and also under a desk. And where a fire breaks out- if an extinguisher is nearby we should use it to put out the fire,” Shaniek says.
Bethabara Primary and Junior High has over 800 students, and 28 teachers. Earthquake Awareness Week will be observed from January 11-17, under the theme, ‘Earthquake Have No Season: Do Your Part. Be Earthquake Smart!’.

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