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Why is Jamaica vulnerable to earthquakes? How to prepare ...

Published:Tuesday | January 6, 2015 | 1:13 PM
1907: Holy Trinity Cathedral, Duke Street, after the great earthquake struck Kingston.

Jamaica's location along the northern margin of the Caribbean Plate and the presence of very active faults on the island makes it vulnerable to earthquakes.



Earthquakes are defined as sudden shakings or trembling of the earth caused by the shifting of the rock’s beneath the earth’s surface.




As such, earthquakes can occur at anytime and anywhere on the island.



Here are some measures that you can put in place to reduce your personal losses after an earthquake before one actually occurs.



1907: Port Royal Street, looking towards the west, after the earthquake.



1907: Port Royal Street, looking towards the west, after the earthquake.





1. Every responsible member of the family should know:



How to turn off the water, gas and electricity;



Basic first-aid;



Safe places in the home to take cover during an earthquake;



Where to find the nearest public shelter;



Where and how to reunite with family members.



1957: The clock tower of the ancient St James Parish Church bears mute testimony of the severity of the earthquake as felt in Montego Bay and other western areas.



1957: The clock tower of the ancient St James Parish Church bears mute testimony of the severity of the earthquake as felt in Montego Bay and other western areas.





2. Practice earthquake drills regularly, at least twice per year, so employees know what to do in an earthquake. This would include:



The evacuation of the building;



The identification of an open space as an assembly point after an earthquake;



The formation and training of a safety committee;



The formation and training of a safety committee;



Developing a disaster plan - this plan will indicate the procedures to follow during and after an earthquake or any other disaster.



1957: Earthquake damage to Mount Carey Baptist Church, about a mile from Anchovy, St James, is shown here. Some dwellings in the area collapsed.



1957: Earthquake damage to Mount Carey Baptist Church, about a mile from Anchovy, St James, is shown here. Some dwellings in the area collapsed.





3. Falling objects usually cause injury and death during an earthquake. To minimise these potential earthquake hazards in the home and workplace:



Bolt down water heaters and gas appliances;



Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves;



Securely fasten shelves and filing cabinets to walls;



Computers should be attached to desks;



Bottles, glass, china and other breakables should be stored in low cabinets;



All cabinets should be kept locked;



Make sure that overhead lighting fixtures, such as chandeliers and fluorescent bulbs, are securely anchored and covered;



Make sure that your home's or business' insurance is in place and up-to-date.



1907: The elegantly designed Kingston Parish Church at the corner of King Street, near Parade, was ruined by earthquake. Photo courtesy of the National Library of Jamaica.



1907: The elegantly designed Kingston Parish Church at the corner of King Street, near Parade, was ruined by earthquake. Photo courtesy of the National Library of Jamaica.



4. Check your homes and offices for:



Cracks and weaknesses;



Defective electrical wiring;



Inflexible gas connections and leaking gas;



Objects that could topple, causing injury.



Article taken from http://www.odpem.org.jm



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