ODPEM recommends warden system for schools, businesses
Acting Director General, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Richard Thompson.Photo: JIS

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.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?