LAST-MINUTE preparations dominated life in western Jamaica yesterday as the area went on full alert, whipping up contingency plans to minimise the impact of Tropical Storm Charley, which meteorologists early in the day said at the time was on a collision path with the island.
In Westmoreland, there was an urgent meeting between Parish Council officials and members of the parish's Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to sign-off on emergency centres for areas such as McNeill Lands and Grange Hill, the traditional flood-prone areas.
READY TO RESPOND
"We are ready to respond to emergencies such as clearing roads," said Ms. Hilma Tate, the ODPEM co-ordinator for the parish. "All the emergency services are on standby and we have placed our shelter managers on alert."
While there was an air of nonchalance on the streets, both the St. James Parish Council and the parish's ODPEM were busily making last-minute plans to activate the 50 shelters across the parish. According to coordinator Olga Faye Headley, the shelters were ready to accommodate residents who might need to evacuate their homes.