In a display of readiness and inter-agency cooperation, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) sought to assure the nation today that all necessary measures are in place to mitigate the impact of the impending Hurricane Beryl. Speaking at a multi-agency press briefing held at Jamaica House today, Police Commissioner Dr Kevin Blake outlined the extensive preparations undertaken by the JCF, emphasising a state of heightened preparedness and a collaborative approach with key stakeholders.

 State of Readiness and Incident Command Centres

Preparations for Hurricane Beryl began last Thursday with a series of strategic meetings involving Area Commanders. The JCF is now poised to activate incident command centres across the island at 6 PM tomorrow. Commissioner Blake highlighted the readiness to stand up these centres, underscoring the JCF’s proactive approach: “Our preparation for this oncoming hurricane commenced on Thursday of last week, where we started off with a series of meetings with our Area commanders. We’re now in a state of readiness to stand up incident command centres right across the island. And this will happen at 6 PM tomorrow.”

 Engagement with Stakeholders

In a concerted effort to ensure comprehensive preparedness, the JCF has engaged with various external stakeholders, including the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), the Disaster Preparedness Committee, and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association. Divisional Commanders have also been actively meeting with Parish Disaster Committees. “We’ve had several meetings with some of our external stakeholders including the JDF, ODPEM, our Disaster Preparedness Committee, our Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, and several other relevant committees in having dialogue and discussion in terms of readiness,” Commissioner Blake stated.

 Structured Management and Shelter Security

The JCF has devised a four-tier management structure to ensure effective coordination and response. This structure includes a headquarters management team, a corporate area management team, command teams at the Area level, and divisional management teams. These teams will feed information into the national JCF headquarters for comprehensive coverage. “We will operate in our four-tier management structure, which includes headquarters management team that looks at the national picture and plugs into the other national apparatus,” Blake explained.

 Plans are also in place to secure shelters once established, ensuring safety and order during the hurricane.

 Resource Deployment and Operational Adjustments

To ensure adequate coverage and response during the hurricane, the JCF has deployed sufficient human resources and is prepared to recall personnel from leave if necessary. Highway patrols will monitor thoroughfares to ensure they remain usable, while mobile patrols will focus on domestic spaces and business districts. Quick Response teams will be fully deployed to respond to incidents and protect business communities. “Our highway patrols will continue to monitor thoroughfares across the island to ensure that they remain usable and passable,” Blake noted.

Collaboration with the JDF extends to the protection of vital infrastructure, including Petro Jam, airports, business districts, hospitals, major road networks, courts, prisons, high commissions, and embassies. “There are some key vital infrastructure that we have been looking at that we will be placing emphasis on looking at protecting in collaboration with JDF,” said Blake.

 The JCF has conducted a thorough inventory of supplies, ensuring sufficient resources are available. Heavy equipment has been strategically placed to assist with debris clearing and potential search and rescue operations. “We have completed an inventory of our supplies, and I’m pleased to say that we do have sufficient supply to take us through,” Blake confirmed.

 Communication Network Security

Maintaining communication is critical. The JCF has a comprehensive plan to secure its communication infrastructure, led by the Technology Branch. Measures include constant monitoring, a response team for any site outages, and well-fuelled generators. “In terms of our communication network, it is paramount, very important that even if commercial communication is done, our public safety remains up during this period,” Blake emphasised.

The Police Emergency Command Centre is critical and will remain operational with contingency plans in place. “Our Police Emergency Command Centre, which is critical, must remain up, and so we are doing all that is necessary to ensure that is the case,” Blake assured, noting the historical resilience of the command centre during past disasters.

 Coordination with Other Agencies and Public Communication

Liaisons will coordinate with ODPEM, first responders, and community organisations. The JCF will also ensure effective and timely public communication through the Constabulary Communication Network (CCN). “We will ensure that the public has effective and timely communication as we have probably the largest and most sophisticated communication arm through CCN,” Blake stated.

 Commissioner Blake concluded with a firm assurance to the public: “Let me assure Jamaica that the JCF will do all that is in its powers to keep Jamaica safe and to help us through this time.”

With Hurricane Beryl approaching, the JCF’s comprehensive measures and coordinated efforts with stakeholders underline its commitment to safeguarding Jamaica and its citizens during this critical period.