Thu | Feb 25, 2021

ODPEM reimagining earthquake and tsunami safety

Published:Tuesday | January 19, 2021 | 10:48 AM
Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Leslie Harrow (contributed photo)

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is ‘Reimagining Earthquake Safety to Build Resilience’ during its 2021 Earthquake and Tsunami Awareness Campaign.

ODPEM says the emphasis is on revisiting how things are done in order to improve preparedness and response to disasters.

“I believe that for us to continue in doing the things that we normally do, it would have meant that we would not have learned anything,” director general of the ODPEM, Leslie Harrow said.

“So it's always best to revisit the things that you would have done in the past, both to ensure that you learn from those experiences and you improve on a daily basis. So we are shifting towards a different paradigm,” he added.

The campaign, which officially started on January 11, will be focused on strategic, youth-targeted activities during the first quarter of 2021 with continued engagements through the ODPEM’s Information and Training Unit for the remainder of the year.

“What we have done is to ensure that our young people are engaged and as a result, we have our Youth Ambassador and she is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that our young people, their minds are engaged and the online platforms are utilised,” Harrow said.

He said that training will also be undertaken at various institutions across the island.

“Our Parish Disaster Preparedness Coordinators are ready and there are programmes that they have developed with the Information and Training team, so they are delivering on all of this,” he noted.

The ODPEM’s 2021 Youth Ambassador, Kyla Gaynor, who officially started her duties on January 11, will participate in the organisation’s physical and virtual engagements, utilising various platforms to reach her peers.

Harrow said he is impressed with the initiatives proposed by the Youth Ambassador, which are being discussed.

Earthquake and tsunami awareness are generally highlighted by the ODPEM in the month of January. However, the year-round threat of both natural disasters has led the organisation to spread its awareness efforts beyond the month.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at or