JIS News

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  • Parish Councils islandwide are currently finalising preparations and their readiness for the start of the 2016 tropical hurricane season on June 1.
  • Additionally, he says Councils are seeking to identify more adequate and suitable locations for use as emergency shelters to house persons who may have to be evacuated from their communities.
  • Additionally, Councillor Barnswell says persons who live adjacent to ponds or in flood-prone areas must “plan your escape route...and discuss it with others in the house.”

Parish Councils islandwide are currently finalising preparations and their readiness for the start of the 2016 tropical hurricane season on June 1.

The activities are being undertaken throughout May as part of ‘Hurricane Preparedness Month’.

Co-Chairman of the Association of Local Government Authorities of Jamaica (ALGA), Councillor Scean Barnswell, tells JIS News that Councils have concluded meetings with members of their respective Parish Disaster and Safety Committees regarding their response in the event of a disaster, as well as training for Shelter Managers and other stakeholders, among other engagements.

Councillor Barnswell, who is also May Pen’s Mayor and the Clarendon Parish Council’s Chairman, says drain cleaning is one of the areas of priority focus.

Additionally, he says Councils are seeking to identify more adequate and suitable locations for use as emergency shelters to house persons who may have to be evacuated from their communities.

“Most of our shelters are schools and were not designed specifically for that purpose; (in fact) some were not (deemed) suitable…based on (their) location, design and size. We have looked at (alternative) shelters and have made some recommendations….(and) we are going to be using the time to sign off on (these with) our Shelter Managers,” he advises.

Councillor Barnswell tells JIS News that steps are already being taken to ensure that Councils are adequately prepared to provide emergency supplies such as food and medication.

Additionally, he says residents are also being sensitised to the importance of making similar preparations.

“At community meetings in areas classified as vulnerable, we advise residents to take non-perishable items such canned foods, bottled water and crackers as well as a portable battery-operated radio and flashlight, and to secure important documents in ziplock bags,” he outlines.

The ALGA Co-Chairman encourages residents to take the necessary measures to protect themselves and their properties.

“If there are nearby trees that can become a danger to your house, you need to start pruning them. You need to inspect (the) roofs (of your homes) to (ascertain their) durability and strength and (determine) how secure (they are),” he suggests.

Additionally, Councillor Barnswell says persons who live adjacent to ponds or in flood-prone areas must “plan your escape route…and discuss it with others in the house.”

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