Disaster Plan To Be Developed For Child Care Facilities

Over the next year, a disaster emergency plan is to be developed for each of the 41 child care institutions that have been selected under a project being implemented by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).

As contained in the 2010/2011 Estimates of Expenditure, $7.2 million has been set aside to carry out the activities of this project.

Now in Phase II of its implementation, the project, entitled: ‘Protecting Children in Emergencies by Strengthening the Capacity of Schools and their Surrounding Communities to respond to Disasters’, will also, during the year, train personnel from the 41 child care institutions in various areas related to disaster preparedness.

These areas include basic disaster management, shelter management, first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and psycho-social support for children. Additionally, for the next year, 100 youths are to be trained as first responders under the Preparedness Emergency and Response Core (PERC) programme.

The objective of the project is to equip child care institutions, primary, all-age, high school, children’s homes and special education institutions, with the capacity to protect children before and after a man-made or natural disaster.

Up to February 2010, 20 participants were trained in psycho-social support for children and teachers and care givers from five child care institutions were trained in basic disaster management, shelter management, first aid and CPR.

Jointly funded by the United Nations International Children’s Educational Fund, and the Government of Jamaica, the project, which had an original duration of January 2009 to March 2010, has been further expanded and is expected to end in June next year.