JIS News

Acting Director General at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Ronald Jackson, has said that the agency will be utilizing technology to improve its emergency management and co-ordination during the 2007 hurricane season.
“We will be seeking to utilize the modeling and predictive capabilities of the Geographic Information System (GIS) and other specially designed computer applications to track, prepare and manage events as they unfold,” he stated.
Mr. Jackson, who was speaking at a press conference on Friday (June 1) at ODPEM’s Camp Road offices in Kingston, said that the agency will also be boosting its communication system.
“We have installed repeater systems and will be issuing trunking to some vulnerable communities. We have also acquired two satellite phones, and also have standing protocols with the telecommunications providers, all in an effort to ensure that we can communicate before, during and after an event. The ability to communicate was a key lesson learned out of the Hurricane Ivan experience,” he noted.
In the meantime, he has advised that all hurricane predictions should be taken seriously, despite a quiet season last year, amidst predictions of an active season. “As we have always reminded our public, never mind the predictions as it only takes one hurricane to cause significant disruption, dislocation and discomfort,” he pointed out.
The Acting Director General further urged members of the public to prepare for the possibility of a hurricane, and reduce the risk of flooding by cleaning waterways and drains and keeping them clear of garbage.
“We continue to urge action on the part of the public. We ask that you seek to continue to do the things necessary to reduce your own vulnerability such as refraining from dumping in the waterways and drains and to heed the advice of the ODPEM when given,” he urged.
Meteorologists are predicting an active 2007 Atlantic hurricane season. At least 13 to 17 tropical storms are expected, with seven to 10 becoming hurricanes of which three to five may be category three or more.
Members of the public can call ODPEM at 928-5111-3 for any additional information.

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