Students of the Irving School at the earthquake sensitisation session which was hosted by the Department of Emergency Management. (A.Miller/BGIS)

Students of the Irving Wilson School are now “earthquake ready”.

This follows the sensitisation today of approximately 20 students of the special needs school about what to do during an earthquake, conducted through the use of sign language.

The session formed part of a series being conducted by officials from the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) and the University of the West Indies’ Seismic Research Centre (SRC) over the course of this week as Earthquake and Tsunami Smart Month 2017 activities wind down.

Director of the DEM, Kerry Hinds, had previously indicated that the disabled community was particularly vulnerable, and that her agency was seeking to see how it could tailor its messages about various hazards going forward to cater to the disabled.

Speaking after the sensitisation session, seismologist at the SRC, Dr. Joan Latchman, said the invitation to reach out to the disabled community was new to the department, but they were enthusiastic to see how they could work within that area.

“Based on what I saw this morning, I am very encouraged that this is something that we do, and can do well with the support of those who are involved in working with the disabled community,” she stated.

She added that going forward, the SRC would seek to explore how it could work with the disabled community through its region-wide campaigns. This, she indicated, would involve the SRC also having to adapt some of its material.

Research Assistant in the Education and Outreach Department of the SRC, Alia Juman, conducting the earthquake sensitisation session at the Irving Wilson School. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Research Assistant in the Education and Outreach Department of the SRC, Alia Juman, conducted the session, and urged the students to remember to “drop, cover and hold on”, in the event of an earthquake.

Speaking through a teacher interpreting for the students in sign language, Ms. Juman said there was a “big earthquake” off the coast of Barbados about two years ago, and many since that time.

She cautioned the students that earthquakes were among hazards which could result in buildings and other structures falling, and therefore it was important to know what to do when one occurred.

The Research Assistant later charged the students to share the information they learnt with their family and friends.

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