The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is embarking on a three-month education campaign aimed at raising national awareness about earthquake preparedness and mitigation.
The campaign, under the theme ‘Drop. Cover. Hold… Earthquake readiness is within your control’ was officially launched on January 9, at the ODPEM’s Haining Road offices, St. Andrew.
Activities, over the period January to March, will include expositions across the island and awareness days for businesses and schools.
Director General of the ODPEM, Major Clive Davis, said Jamaica is located in a highly active seismic zone that experiences an average of 200 earthquakes annually.
He noted that the country has suffered destructive earthquakes in the past and there is a high probability for a recurrence of similar events. Local experts believe that Jamaica’s major fault has the potential to generate a 7.5 to 7.8-magnitude earthquake.
“Recognising that a catastrophic earthquake could easily create the greatest natural-hazard threat to our citizens and the economy, the ODPEM is adamant about building a culture of risk identification, risk reduction and preparedness,” Major Davis said.
“It is envisioned that the ODPEM will continue to build a culture of safety among individuals, households and organisations about earthquake and tsunami hazards and the consequences,” he added.
Major Davis said the Government, though the ODPEM, continues to work closely with its partners, both locally and internationally, to build Jamaica’s seismic resilience.
He noted that the agency is working towards a comprehensive, integrated national programme aimed at reducing loss of life and property. He said that attention to building codes and community awareness are, therefore, high on the agenda.