JIS News

The St. Catherine emergency service has received high marks for its disaster response mechanism, following a recent earthquake simulation exercise held at the WINDALCO bauxite plant in Ewarton.
The activity, organized by the St. Catherine Parish Council and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), was designed to test the readiness of the parish’s emergency services to respond in a real case scenario.
Disaster co-ordinator at the parish council, Patricia Lewis, told JIS News that the exercise, which involved the rescue of three persons from a building, went better than anticipated and indicated the readiness of the parish’s emergency service providers.
“I would give them a 90 per cent passing grade because everything was executed as planned and therefore indicates that the teams are ready and know what to do,” she said.
She told JIS News that ODPEM and the parish council were looking to host similar exercises in the major towns in the parish. “We’re exploring the possibility of having one in Old Harbour, Linstead and in Spanish Town on a much larger scale,” she noted.
Safety and Environment Engineer at Ewarton, Anthony Watson said that while there were some operational concerns, “overall it was a fruitful exercise”. He noted that the company’s fire and emergency services division had benefited from the exercise. “Just observing the St. Catherine Fire Service doing the rescue, we here in Ewarton have learnt quite a bit from it in terms of how we do alarms, how we alert persons, and how we deal with people who are injured in these emergencies,” he said.
Mr. Watson told JIS News that the company would utilize some of the lessons gleaned in its own preparedness measures.
Meanwhile, Assistant Superintendent of the Spanish Town Fire Brigade, Uron Burke, said he was also pleased with the activity. “After we received the call, we got here in quick time and were able to interact with the persons on the ground and execute the drill efficiently,” he told JIS News.
Following the activity, a de-briefing was held at the parish council offices in Spanish Town, where participants pointed out flaws and made corrective recommendations.