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  • Companies located in the PanJam Building in New Kingston participated in an earthquake drill carried out by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to sensitise the entities on what to do in the event of a tremor.
  • The exercise, held on January 16, tested evacuation protocols, identified potential challenges in relation to earthquake response and assessed the communication links in relation to first responders.
  • ODPEM said that the drill was a success, providing the agency with needed information on the preparedness of the entities and areas where improvements are needed.

Companies located in the PanJam Building in New Kingston participated in an earthquake drill carried out by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to sensitise the entities on what to do in the event of a tremor.

The exercise, held on January 16, involved partnership with Jamaica Property Limited and PanJam Investments Limited.

It tested evacuation protocols, identified potential challenges in relation to earthquake response and assessed the communication links in relation to first responders.

ODPEM said that the drill was a success, providing the agency with needed information on the preparedness of the entities and areas where improvements are needed.

“It was a well-executed drill. Persons evacuated the building within nine minutes and the support of the business community was tremendous. Greater sensitisation of key stakeholders will enhance future drills. We need, now, a greater geospatial analysis of the New Kingston area to identify appropriate assembly areas,” ODPEM Eastern Regional Coordinator, Sophia Mitchell, told JIS News.

The drill followed a series of sensitisation sessions held with each participating company between October and December 2019, to build awareness around the ever present threat of earthquakes and tsunamis.

During the exercise, the occupants of the more than 1,000-capacity building were evacuated to the nearby Knutsford Express parking lot.

“Each company had their designated safety officers and identified assembly points in the parking lot, and only went back to their respective offices after the clearance was given by the Jamaica Fire Brigade,” Ms. Mitchell said.

Also present at the site were representatives from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation and Ambucare.

Among the companies that participated in the drill were the Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ), IBM, 3M, Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB), Massy United Insurance, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and Microsoft Corporation.

Employees of the Ministry of Tourism gather at their designated assembly point in the Knutsford Express parking lot in New Kingston as safety wardens do their checks to account for each member of staff. Occastion was an earthquake drill carried out by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in collaboration with companies in the PanJam Building on January 16.

 

Ms. Mitchell says there will be additional drills in the future with the hope that more of the business community will participate in the preparedness activity.

Entities wishing to arrange their own emergency drills can contact the Parish Disaster Coordinators located at each municipal corporation or request training from the ODPEM by calling 876-906-9674.

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