Jamaica observes Earthquake Awareness Month in January

January 8, 2015 9:42 pm

The month of January has been designated Earthquake Awareness Month by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). This year’s observance is under the theme ‘Community Strengthening and Awareness…A Recipe for Building Earthquake Resilience’.

While there is not much that can be done to predict when and where an earthquake will occur, Acting Director General of ODPEM Richard Thompson emphasizes the importance of earthquake preparedness. In this light the ODPEM has unveiled what it describes as a ‘national road map’, aimed at strengthening the country’s capacity to mitigate the effects of earthquakes. The document, developed in conjunction with United Nations development partners, addresses the preparation for, and response and recovery from seismic activity.
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Even as the government strengthens its response mechanism, individual communities and families can prepare by learning what protective measures to take before, during and after the emergency. The ODPEM website at www.odpem.org.jm has a downloadable document titled, ‘4 Ways to Better Prepare You & Your Family for an Earthquake’.

Your plan should include a basic disaster supplies kit. See below, some ideas for supplies, courtesy of ODPEM :


• The Container:
A backpack is best, but a small suitcase, duffel bag, or even a heavy cardboard box can serve as a container. It should be large enough to hold the equipment, but small enough for you to carry without difficulty.

• Portable Radio and Batteries
• Flashlight

Include a high quality flashlight with spare batteries.

• Water
Store enough water for cooking and sanitary needs. One half gallon (or two litres) per person will provide drinking water for one day. Replace the bottles of water every three to six months.

• Food
Pack one day’s supply of high energy, ready to-eat foods. Replace the food supplies in the kit every three to six months depending on their exposure to heat and light.

• A well-stocked first aid kit

Include: first aid manual, band aids, sterile gauze pads, soap, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic solution, chemical cold compress, small container of table salt, aspirin tablets, anti-diarrhoea medication, scissors, safety pins, tweezers, thermometer, tissues, matches, pocket knife, three-day supply of prescription medicine required and extra contact lens solutions if needed. All liquids should be in plastic containers. Check your First Aid Kit annually or more often and replace items as necessary. A smaller kit can be kept in your car and at work.

• Walking Shoes and Socks

The only transportation may be on foot after a disaster as roads may be blocked. Be sure that your shoes are suitable for long distances and for walking over piles of broken glass.

• Local Map & Directions to Community Services

• A Blanket

• Sanitation Supplies

Include small and medium plastic bags for human waste disposal, tissues, soap and sanitary
napkins, bleach, disinfectant, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, comb and
other personal hygiene supplies.