The St James Municipal Corporation has declared its preparedness for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, with a comprehensive plan in place to ensure the safety and well-being of residents in the event of a major storm.
The six-month Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.
Parish Coordinator for Disaster Preparedness, Tamoy Sinclair, told JIS News that the plan includes pre-hurricane preparations, such as clearing drains and priming the parish’s 66 emergency shelters for temporary accommodation.
She noted that the Corporation has made arrangements for the swift deployment of emergency response teams and resources in the event of a disaster.
Ms. Sinclair further advised that partnerships have been forged with local businesses and organisations to ensure the effective coordination of relief efforts, if necessary.
“There are Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) in place with entities to provide us with additional food supplies, where there might be a need. [Regarding] the Health and Welfare Subcommittee of the Parish Disaster Committee, we have our standard operating procedures in place; so, the burden is not on any one entity to provide assistance,” she shared.
Ms. Sinclair explained that drains are being routinely cleaned, with special focus being given to those located in Montego Bay.
“In terms of drain cleaning and maintenance… of course, there are allocations that are sent periodically to assist with critical drain cleaning, and that programme continues,” she said.
The Parish Coordinator pointed out that shelter managers have been proactive in their preparations for the hurricane season, and are outfitted with the requisite resources.
“Our shelter managers are trained, and they have been equipped with the necessary tools that they will utilise. Those tools include the necessary forms to capture data/information, from those in shelters. They have been equipped with tools, such as raincoats, flashlights and batteries, and have also been provided with PPEs [personal protective equipment] and sanitation items to assist with the cleaning of the shelters,” she outlined.
Ms. Sinclair urges all residents to take the necessary steps to protect life and property, and stay informed during this time.
“To prepare, one of the first things is to advise residents to identify where your emergency shelter is and make yourself familiar with the shelter manager within your community. Know what it is that you ought to take with you if you have to go to the emergency shelter, which would include food and water to last you for a minimum of three days,” she outlined.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is reporting that the season will be more active than normal, with at least six hurricanes forecast to emerge from more than a dozen tropical storms.