KINGSTON, Jamaica - The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is advising schools and businesses to implement a warden system to assist with the coordination and safe evacuation of persons during emergencies.
“Companies and schools should ensure that they have floor wardens. These persons should be so trained and equipped that they can check the facility to ensure that everyone has evacuated the building,” Acting Director General, Richard Thompson said.
He noted that once persons evacuate and are gathered at the designated assembly point, the floor warden will be able to check the register to ensure that everyone is accounted for.
In the event of an earthquake, Thompson said that wardens are to do the necessary inspections to make sure that there are no ruptured pipes or gas leaks in the building.
“This is just to ensure that you might not have secondary occurrences, such as fires and hazardous material leaks,” he pointed out.
Search and rescue and mass casualty procedures will be handled by the State agencies with responsibility for response and recovery.
Thompson further urged persons to practise the ‘drop, cover and hold’ technique to protect themselves during an earthquake.
“You get under something very sturdy… you cover your head and you hold in order for you not to be shaken off your feet,” he noted.
The ODPEM is an agency of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.
It is responsible for the country’s disaster management and is charged with taking action to reduce the impact of disasters and emergencies on the Jamaican population and its economy.
The agency also plays a coordinating role in the execution of emergency response and relief operations during major disasters.