Jamaica News, Kingston: The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) has been implementing wide-ranging strategies aimed at ensuring Jamaica’s readiness for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.
Speaking at the Kingston Rotary Club’s weekly luncheon at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, on June 7, ODPEM’s Director General, Major Clive Davis, said the agency has been actively engaged in ongoing disaster preparedness programmes involving various stakeholders.
He said multiple training activities have been held for persons, focusing on shelter management, first aid, emergency operations and damage assessment.
Major Davis also indicated that ODPEM has undertaken a number of simulation exercises with approximately 70 agencies and partners.
“Jamaica continues to enjoy favourable relations with partners who work with us in mitigation, preparation, and public information,” he pointed out.
The Director General noted that the resources of rescue and response agencies, such as the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), have been boosted with the provision of additional equipment.
“These have increased (by) some five or six new fire engines and equipment to get them (JFB) out there (if and when needed) to do what they need to do. In addition, our military (Jamaica Defence Force) would have been increasing its intake of equipment and is ready and willing to participate in all the activities that could come our way if we had an event (like a hurricane),” he said.
Major Davis also informed that the island’s 900 shelters have been checked and inspected, adding that “there are management teams in place to operate them as and when required”.
He assured that there is no shortage of relief supplies, adding that public information will be significantly enhanced during the six-month hurricane season, which commenced on June 1.
Meanwhile, Major Davis advised that he will be travelling to Barbados next week for a conference spearheaded by the United Nations (UN) agencies group “as we look at what it would mean if Jamaica were to be impacted (by a natural disaster) and how those support and supplies would come here”.
The Meteorological Service of Jamaica projects that the 2018 hurricane season will be “above average”.
In this regard, Major Davis encouraged Jamaicans to be vigilant during the period by paying attention to bulletins that may be issued and stocking up on essential supplies, adding that “we (ODPEM) believe, though, that we are ready”.
Source: JIS News