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KSAC gets quake-ready

Published:Wednesday | March 10, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Workshops, building inspections and the purchase of equipment are some of the moves being made by the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) as it steps up its effort to ready the city for future earthquakes.

Mayor of Kingston Desmond Mckenzie says the KSAC had workshops designed to finalise an emergency response plan.

"We had a workshop about two weeks ago right here at the KSAC, which included all the major stakeholders as it relates to earthquake response," McKenzie said. "We have been doing a number of things (such as) building inspections. We are looking at a number of buildings, like the public hospitals, and inspection is to be undertaken at the KPH (Kingston Public Hospital)."

The agencies the KSAC has been working with include the National Works Agency, the National Water Commission, the Jamaica Fire Brigade and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.

McKenzie also revealed that the agencies have purchased equipment to test the soundness of buildings to ensure that they are following the building codes.


These are a Schmidt Hammer, which tests the strength of concrete and rock, and an X-ray machine to analyse whether buildings have the proper quantities of steel. According to McKenzie, these machines cost the country more than US$10,000.

"We have gone a step further to procure the necessary equipment that are necessary. There are two pieces of equipment that are required for the examination of structures," he said.

"We are looking at buildings as old as 20 years, 30 years, 50 years and upward. We are not only going to be looking at them, but we are going to be making recommendations as to what can, and should, be done."

The mayor also said the KSAC was looking at purchasing boats to mitigate the effects of a tsunami on the capital, and is in the process of clearing a section of the May Pen Cemetery for burial space.