Earthquake drills planned for local schools

Earthquake drills for schools in Saint Lucia are on the cards, the Director of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), Velda Joseph, has disclosed.

“It is an idea that we have discussed. In fact we are looking at a number of hazards other than the storms and tropical cyclones,” the NEMO Director told the Times.

Joseph said NEMO is planning to do a lot more public awareness pertaining to hazards.

“I want to preempt that by saying that we are going to bring on board for a short time, two Education Coordinators to assist us, because we do recognize that we need to do a lot more for other hazards and not just hurricanes,” she revealed.

According to Joseph, the Education Coordinators are being sourced with the assistance of the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP).

She expects that they will be on the job as of April 1, 2016, after which the entire programme for this financial year will be rolled out.

“The drills are something that we have on the cards right now,” the NEMO Director told the Times.

Just last week Saint Lucia recorded two earthquakes.

In implementing earthquake drills for schools, Saint Lucia will be following the lead of Jamaica which last week announced that some 300 learning institutions in Kingston and St Andrew, St Thomas and St Catherine, will simultaneously stage earthquake drills on March 22 and 23.

The drills are part of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management’s (ODPEM) ‘Drop, Cover, Hold’ (DCH) campaign.

Organizers of the drills have said that children represent the more vulnerable population, and the exercises are designed to help protect them in the event of an emergency.

They have also said that they want to encourage the school community to conduct regular earthquake drills and update emergency plans; disseminate resource material on earthquake response; and spread the general message of preparedness for earthquakes in order to prevent damage and injury.