JIS News

The Clarendon Parish Disaster Committee is planning a yearlong programme of activities to encourage earthquake preparedness with special focus placed on schools.
“We will be targeting a number of schools to make more young persons aware of how to respond during an earthquake,” said Camille Delgado, Regional Director for the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).
“It is important to target our children and young people because they constitute one of the groups that can become very vulnerable if an earthquake should hit especially during school hours and we want to impart basic preparedness and response tips that we hope will help minimize the possibility of injury and death”, she added.
Ms. Delgado noted further that, “if an earthquake should occur during school hours, the school is charged with the responsibility to ensure that students are safe, so each school should have an earthquake plan and hold regular drills with the students”.
She told JIS News that in addition to activities to mark Earthquake Awareness Week nationally from January 8 to 13, the Parish Disaster Committee hoped to make presentations to at least 10 basic, primary, junior high and high schools during the months of January, February, and March.
There will also be community video presentations in collaboration with the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) and the Committee will meet any requests for presentations from schools, businesses or organizations. Poster and pamphlets will be displayed at libraries, the May Pen post office and the Inland Revenue Department.
Ms. Delgado emphasized that preparedness should be at the individual level, in the homes and in the communities. “Earthquakes can happen at any time and we all have a personal responsibility to ensure that we, our families and our homes are safe. We ought to therefore identify the hazards around us and put measures in place to reduce our vulnerability,” she stated.
The ODPEM Regional Director further charged businesses to implement a disaster management plan, which should involve regular earthquake drills with staff. “The frequency of disasters occurring in Jamaica and across the world has increased significantly, so disaster preparedness response is of paramount importance and something that we should live day to day,” she stated.
‘Earthquake Awareness Week is being observed under the theme ‘Prepare Now! Don’t Wait.Be Ready for the Next Earthquake’.