Regional

Municipal corporations in the west preparing for hurricane season

Thursday, June 20, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Municipal corporations in western Jamaica are fast-tracking preparations for the 2019 hurricane season, which began on June 1 and ends on November 30.

In St James, Parish Disaster Preparedness Coordinator Tamoy Sinclair told JIS News that key steps are being taken to ensure public safety throughout the period.

She said that all 68 emergency shelters in the parish have been inspected and given the green light for temporary accommodation in the event of an emergency. She pointed out that each shelter – school, community centre and church – will have at least two managers who are trained in shelter management, including first aid.

“The municipal corporation also equips these individuals with some basic safety tools that they can utilise while serving in public, such as flashlights, first-aid kits and the necessary forms to ensure that the information on persons in the shelters can be properly recorded, so we can identify where they are from, the structure of their families and to see how best we can assist them,” she said.

Sinclair indicated that the Jamaica Fire Brigade, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Roads and Works Department, Red Cross and the St James Public Health Department all play an integral role in the process.

She noted that $700,000 has been allocated to each of the parish's 17 divisions to further assist in the preparation, including drain cleaning.

“We have also procured necessary items for persons who might be displaced. So, persons within the parish who suffer impacts throughout the hurricane season will receive necessary items, once the assessment has been verified. Rest assured that the municipal corporation is making every effort to ensure that the residents of St James are safe and are thought about this 2019 hurricane season,” Sinclair said.

In Hanover, Parish Disaster Preparedness Coordinator Keniesha Stennett-Dunbar reported a similar state of readiness, noting that inspection of the parish's 55 emergency shelters has already been carried out. She noted that shelter management training is complemented with public education in schools and communities.

It is a similar situation over in Trelawny, which currently has some 80 emergency shelters. Parish Disaster Preparedness Coordinator Dion Hylton-Lewis said that shelter manager training took place in South Trelawny on June 12 and 13.

The parish disaster coordinator for Westmoreland, Hilma Tate, said the parish has 94 emergency shelters. She said first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation are among the training shelter managers have undergone “because we can't take anything for granted and we want to encourage communities to have a plan”.

— JIS


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