More earthquake drills coming

November 20, 2023
Workers in a Corporate Area office head outside after the earthquake on October 30.
Workers in a Corporate Area office head outside after the earthquake on October 30.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) will be conducting more regular earthquake drills as part of its national strategic response.

The simulation exercises will assist persons to be better prepared and help to ease anxiety about earthquakes among the public, according to Michelle Edwards, acting deputy director general at ODPEM.

"Once we can have them and we can do these drills as often as we can, it will alleviate some of the fear and panic that occurs when there's an earthquake," she noted. "We can't get away from the fact that people will panic but the more we practise our drills it will become easier."

ODPEM assists schools, businesses and organisations in conducting earthquake drills and led a large-scale simulation exercise in 2020, which engaged the entire New Kingston business district.

"We tested every business entity's plans, procedures, evacuation procedures, etc. Another one is due," Edwards said.

She is appealing to entities and households to conduct earthquake drills as part of their emergency response plan.

"It is important for you to know exactly what to do when an earthquake occurs. That information you can get... from the ODPEM, our library or website," Edwards said.

"Drills are very important. Know your exits, where your keys are kept for your [house] grill. These are simple things but important when we are in a panic situation. It's important to keep your keys at the same place and keep it there all the time so that when you need to run and grab, you know exactly what you're doing," she advised.

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