PORT ANTONIO — The first in a series of public education expositions on disasters in St. Mary was hosted by the parish’s Disaster Committee in the community of Gayle, on June 24.
Held as part of activities to observe June as disaster preparedness month, the event had as its objective, the sensitisation of residents about the importance of supporting initiatives designed to prevent and mitigate the effects of disasters.
The exposition provided the opportunity for interaction between members of the community and representatives of various emergency response organisations in the parish, including the St. Mary Health Department, the St. Mary Fire Brigade, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the St. Mary Parish Council and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).
In addition to the distribution of brochures and the mounting of displays by some of the organisations focusing on disaster preparedness and mitigation, as well as the general services they offer to the community, the St. Mary Health Department also used the occasion to distribute condoms and provide community members with free blood sugar and blood pressure tests.
St. Mary Disaster Co-ordinator, Yolande Jankie, told JIS News that she was pleased with the support given to the function by the residents of Gayle, adding that she was confident that the high level of interaction and participation they displayed would greatly enhance the disaster preparedness effort in that area.
She noted that similar expositions will be held in the communities of Richmond, Retreat, Bellefield and Annotto Bay, and that a deliberate effort has been made by the
St. Mary Disaster Committee to schedule some of those events in July, to enable as many persons as possible to benefit from the information to be provided.
Several residents in the community expressed satisfaction at being able to participate in the exposition, and pledged to work together to ensure the success of the disaster preparedness programme in the parish.
By ASTON G. BAILEY, JIS Reporter