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Jamaicans are encouraged to continue inspecting their buildings for cracks, shifts in pillars, posts and other beams and structural members, and to seek a professional assessment if there is any damage.

This reminder came from Acting Director General, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Richard Thompson, during a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister on Wednesday (October 30) following a 5.6 magnitude earthquake that impacted sections of Jamaica earlier on the day.

He said the inspection and assessment is to ensure that buildings are safe, while also encouraging persons to check for gas leaks.

Mr. Thompson further urged Jamaicans to take precautionary measures in the event of an earthquake.

“We preach to the public all the time as it relates to the ‘drop, cover, hold’ principle, and I know sometimes when you have not experienced anything of this nature, you tend to forget some of these principles,” he said.

Mr. Thompson also reminded persons to exit their buildings by using the stairs and  not elevators.

He suggested that a warden system should be established within offices  to manage the movement of personnel and check buildings before re-entry.

The Acting Director General also urged Jamaicans to remain alert during these natural disasters.

“One of the things that occurred during the event was that it [made] it a bit difficult for the response personnel to call within their call groups or have discussions about the event because many persons were on their phones.

“We want to remind persons that during an incident of this nature, we know it gets a little dramatic and persons want to call each other. But we are asking persons not to use cellphones during these kinds of incidents unless it is absolutely necessary,” he maintained.

Mr. Thompson said ODPEM continues to do its checks, working closely with the other response entities.

Meanwhile, he advised that following the earthquake, consultation with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre determined that no tsunami was generated by the seismic activity.