March 6, 2024
by Jamalco

Jamalco organised a series of sensitization sessions with principals, teachers and students, as part of National Earthquake Awareness Month being commemorated during January. This was done as the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) launched a month of activities to raise awareness under the theme, ‘Drop, Cover, Hold, Earthquake Readiness Is Within Our Control.’

The presentations and drills undertaken in schools were aimed at heightening awareness, preparedness and safe evacuation should an earthquake occur. Parish Disaster Coordinator for Clarendon, Eleanor Coombs-Waite, collaborated with Jamalco in delivering the message to students that Earthquakes have no season, that they can occur at any time and wherever they are, they can experience this phenomenon. 

Over 500 students from Schools in Jamalco’s operational areas in Clarendon and Manchester benefitted. Some of the Schools which were involved were Hayes Primary, Watsonton Primary and Frankfield Primary and Infant Schools. Earthquake response drills were organised and students responded to the drills by doing the drop, cover and hold procedure, similar to how they would respond in a real earthquake event.

               At the Hayes Primary ,the students were told about the secondary hazards emanating from earthquakes such as a fire by District Officer Rayon Davis and Acting Corporal Lance Dawkins,  Fire Prevention Officers, while Mrs. Coombs-Waite reminded them of the importance of evacuating to the schools assembly point.

Senior Community Relations Officer, Errol Davy, who coordinated the activities at the Frankfield Primary School, outlined the reason behind the initiative. “Our children are in school for approximately seven hours each day, and they need to be reminded about how to respond if an earthquake occurs to minimise any negative impact.’

At the Mile Gully Primary School, Community Relations Officer, Jermaine Foster, ensured that students were aware of their vulnerability to earthquakes.  Working in partnership with principal, Mrs. Haile Sejabie-Knight, students received preparedness and safety information.  Mr Foster explained that students from the institution are now able to respond correctly to earthquakes and are better informed to take the information home to their parents and guardians.

Mrs. Haile Sejabie-Knight expressed gratitude to Jamalco for the continued support and partnership, while commending the Jamalco for this great initiative.

Richmond Park Primary School and Brixton Hill Primary School will also be visited this month for other earthquake awareness sessions.

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