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December 24, 2012
Star News


St Catherine communities equipped to respond to disasters

Residents of 10 communities in St Catherine, who have been trained in emergency management, were on December 20 presented with emergency radios to enhance their response during times of disaster.

A total of 20 radios, valued at $474,000 (US$5,260), were handed over to representatives of the communities at a function held at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management's (ODPEM) Haining Road headquarters, with each community receiving two devices.

The training and equipment are part of collaborative project between ODPEM, HelpAge International and Abacus for Communities, which also signed a Memorandum of Understanding at today's event.

Under the project, 119 residents from Browns Hall, Content, Giblatore, Gregory Park, Princessfield, Riversdale, Rivoli, Springvale, Thompson Pen and Waterford, received practical and theoretical training in basic emergency telecommunications.

Director general of ODPEM, Ronald Jackson, stated that the business of communication is critical in facilitating coordinated response to emergencies.

He noted that when disaster happens, the first responders are the people from the community and they need to be connected to safety operatives.

"Through information, we are able to reduce the window for responding to consequences, through information, we are able to begin the process of early recovery and relief operations, through information we have a better awareness of what is happening in the country and we can plan and deal with the challenges and minimise chaos," he stated.

Regional director of HelpAge International, Jeff James, explained that the basic emergency telecommunications (level 1) training was one component of a project implemented 18 months ago to reduce disaster risks and minimise the vulnerabilities experienced by older persons, children and persons with disabilities across the 10 St. Catherine communities.

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