JHTA launches Emergency Response Training Guide

In a significant move towards bolstering Jamaica’s resilience against natural and man-made disasters, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) has launched an Emergency Response Training Guide for the hospitality and tourism sector.

“The guide, which was crafted by the JHTA’s Security and Emergency Management Committee, is a comprehensive document tailored to address the spectrum of challenges that Jamaica’s hospitality industry and wider community might face,” JHTA President Robin Russell said at a ceremony on October 25, 2023 launching the document at the association’s headquarters in St Andrew.

“From hurricanes and earthquakes to man-made threats, the guide encapsulates a proactive approach towards emergency preparedness, ensuring that our nation’s tourism sector remains a pillar of strength even in the face of adversity,” said Russell.

“In a rapidly evolving world, preparedness is our strongest weapon. This guide is proof of our commitment, not only to the safety of our guests but also to every Jamaican. It emphasises industry standards, effective communication, and most importantly, swift and decisive action during emergencies,” Russell added.

Camille Needham, executive director of the JHTA, noting that tourism is a cornerstone of Jamaica’s economy, said, “This guide ensures that our hotels, resorts, and allied establishments are equipped with the knowledge and tools to mitigate risks and ensure the safety and well-being of all.”

Aldain Reid, chairman of the Security and Emergency Management Committee, who spearheaded the project, said, “Collaboration and detailed research have been pivotal in the creation of this guide. We’ve combined global best practices with our unique local context, ensuring that the guide is both relevant and robust. The JHTA has left no stone unturned in making this a definitive resource for emergency response.”

Key highlights of the guide include:

* Hazard profiles: customisable for each facility, allowing for targeted and specific preparedness measures;

* Emergency response planning: a comprehensive step-by-step guide addressing both natural and man-made hazards; and

* Training schedules: emphasising the importance of regular, detailed training for staff across all levels.

Describing the guide as “demonstrative of Jamaica’s proactive approach towards emergency management”, Reid said “it will be a meaningful tool for all stakeholders as Jamaica journeys towards a safer, more resilient future”.