Jamaican News

Earthquake Simulation Exercise At Primary School In St. Elizabeth

The St. Elizabeth Municipal Corporation, through the Disaster Preparedness, Hazard Mitigation and Safety Committee, conducted an earthquake simulation exercise at the Sandy Bank Primary School, in Treasure Beach, on Friday (January 31).

The exercise, which formed part of the parish’s ongoing 2020 earthquake awareness activities, tested the institution’s responsiveness to the natural disaster, to include the alarm system, the safe evacuation of students and staff to an assembly point, a roll call as well as the need for first aid.

It was carried out in partnership with key stakeholders, such as the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, St. Elizabeth Health Department, National Works Agency (NWA) and Social Development Commission (SDC).

Parish Coordinator for Disaster Preparedness at the St. Elizabeth Municipal Corporation, Ornella Lewis, told JIS News that it is important for schools in general to be prepared for any natural event or man-made hazard.

“It’s obvious that the [Sandy Bank Primary] school has been trying to prepare their students, not only for an earthquake, but also in the event of a fire,” said Ms. Lewis.

“There are some challenges that we outlined in our debriefing session, and we will respond to the school in writing in terms of some recommendations we think they need to take,” she added.

Ms. Lewis said the simulation exercises will continue in the parish as a number of entities have already reached out to the Municipality.

“There is more room for improvement [in the parish], so the public awareness continues in this regard, not only for earthquakes but also for possible hazards and how we should respond,” she outlined.

Principal of the school, Opal Smith-Alexander, indicated that day’s exercise was beneficial “in light of the fact that we’ve just had an earthquake on Tuesday (January 28).”

“We have taken from the whole exercise all the areas that need to be improved. We have taken all of this into consideration and I am sure the next exercise will be much more improved,” Mrs. Smith-Alexander said.


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