Mayor of Port Antonio, Councillor Floyd Patterson, has called on the relevant authorities to look into the re-establishment of the Buff Bay Hospital in Portland.
He said the restoration of a full-scale hospital facility in that town would greatly enhance the ability to save lives in the event of a major disaster.
Mayor Patterson was addressing a debriefing session following an earthquake drill in Buff Bay on Friday, February 18.
The exercise was carried out to sensitise and educate residents, as well as to test the response capability of the emergency services in the parish, in the event of an earthquake or any other emergency.
The Buff Bay Hospital, which was streamlined under the health services rationalisation programme of the mid1980’s, now operates as a community health centre, offering primary health care services.
Mayor Patterson, in the meantime, commended the response level of the various emergency services involved in the exercise.
Citing Haiti as a vivid reminder of the level of destruction that can result when an earthquake strikes, he called on residents to practise the drills in their homes, schools and other places of business. The Mayor further urged the residents of Buff Bay to become members of their local Zonal Disaster Committees and work together for the protection of their communities.
Approximately 70 persons from agencies including the Portland Fire Department, Jamaica Defence Force, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Portland police, Jamaica Public Service, National Youth Service, Salvation Army, and students and teachers of the Buff Bay Primary School, participated in the exercise.
Also addressing the debriefing were Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) Parish Coordinator at the Portland Parish Council, Denise Lewis; Deputy Superintendent in charge of the Portland Police, Oral Harris; and Deputy Superintendent of the Portland Fire Department, Lewiston Gooden.
CONTACT: LORNA WILLIAMS
JIS REGIONAL OFFICE