Officials urge Cayman to prepare for hurricanes

| 16/05/2013

house882 (255x300).jpg(CNS): With the country’s attention firmly focused on the political storms, the impending arrival of the Atlantic Hurricane Season on 1 June has taken a back seat for many people. However, local officials are urging everyone to begin their preparations during the forthcoming holiday weekend. Monday 20 May is the National Day of Preparedness, with this year’s theme focusing on things people need to survive a major storm. The theme "Get your preparedness kit together!" urges residents to consider what they need and get stocked up before the season starts.

In past hurricanes, such as Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Paloma, many residents lost passports, photographs, computers and even their vehicles. In some cases people were hungry and thirsty in the days immediately following the impact, but with proper planning most of these hardships and losses could have been avoided, officials from Hazard Management said.

“When a hurricane threatens there is a lot to do and many important decisions to be made. If you leave things to the last minute there really is only time to scramble to gather some vital supplies — if there are any left in the stores,” the department warned as it urged people to prepare now.

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said that with an active season forecasted, at a minimum residents should have a supply of non-perishable food for at least three days and a week’s supply of water.

“Before the season starts, try to determine where you plan to shelter if a hurricane threatens,” Manderson said, as he urged Caymanians to use Monday as an opportunity to plan for the season.

“Storm surge is the primary threat to life. The surge (not including the waves) has exceeded 20 feet in past hurricanes that have impacted the Cayman Islands; so if you live on the coast or in a low lying area, it is likely you will want to move to a less vulnerable location. Residents are reminded that shelters are not equipped to take pets therefore alternative arrangements should be made.”

He also asked people to take steps to minimize their dependence on government, family or friends to support them in the aftermath of a storm by taking the steps needed to get prepared. The deputy governor asked residents to put together emergency supplies of food and water and for those who have them to get their generators serviced and check shutters. He reminded people to remove debris from yards, trim back trees and get a battery operated radio and a flashlight.

“September is the peak month of the hurricane season, but early and late season storms sometimes form in the western Caribbean. When this occurs, as was the case with Hurricane Paloma, the lead time for preparation can be short. Don't get caught out, set aside food and water for 5 to 7 days,” he said.

Manderson also reminded civil servants that they have a duty to maintain a high level of personal and family preparedness.

“The country depends on our emergency services and first responders to be ready in a time of crisis, however following the 'all clear' I expect all civil servants to contribute to the recovery, including the performance of additional duties above and beyond their regular work schedule during the response phase,” he added.

During a hurricane, and possibly for days or even weeks afterward, electricity and other utilities might not be available. Debris and/or water might block the roads, preventing vehicles from getting in our out of your neighbourhood. Help might not reach people for days after the hurricane. Given those circumstances, the Hazard Management team said, people need to be as self-sufficient as possible and listed the things people should do and think about:

  • Where do you plan to ride out a hurricane?
  • Where are you going to keep your pets during a hurricane?
  • Where will you store your car during a hurricane?
  • Test emergency equipment such as generators and flashlights
  • Trim trees that could fall on your roof
  • Check shutters are working properly

Review insurance coverage for your home and business and determine your flood insurance eligibility. Also review your home owner's insurance policy periodically with your insurance agent or company representative to make sure you have sufficient coverage to rebuild your life and home after a hurricane.

During this weekend, representatives of Hazard Management Cayman Islands will be on hand at sponsoring hardware stores, meeting with residents, answering questions and handing out disaster awareness information. Residents are encouraged to visit the stores and enter to win. There is no cost to enter to win a preparedness kit.

At the start of hurricane season, five lucky winners of the disaster preparedness kits will be drawn on live television on Daybreak on 3 June. The participating hardware stores have sponsored the National Day of Preparedness activities for a number of years, and as a result HMCI has been able to personally engage thousands of residents about preparedness issues.

On Saturday 18 May the team will beat A.L. Thompson's in the morning and at Progressive Distributors in the afternoon. Then on Saturday 25 May they will be at the Kirk's Home Centre in the morning and Uncle Bill's Home Improvement Centre in the afternoon. On Saturday 1 June they will be at Cox Lumber.

For more information about the hurricane season got to www.caymanprepared.gov.ky

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Category: Science and Nature

Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Let's see…gin, check  scotch, check  rum,check  limes and mixer, check  icemaker full,check.  All set!

  2. SSM345 says:

    What sort of preparedness is available for the hurricane surrounding Mac and the damage that will follow when "the sh*t hits the fan" after the elections?

     

    • Anonymous says:

      We have a Hazard Management Dept consisting of a bunch of highly paid civil servants with absolutely nothing to do because there are VERY few hazards to cope with. If disaster strikes, it wont be them that does anything, it will be, quite correctly, the various government departments operating their disaster recovery plans. So why do we have this department? It could very very easily be abolished………but it is staffed with Caymanians so ………………..

  3. Anonymous says:

    Maybe this is the time of year we should implement clean up crews. Since December, I am sure plenty more debris has accumulated. These are hazardous factors and should be one of preparedness concern by everyone.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree.   If we're only going to have KP once a year, I'd rather it prior to hurricane season than prior to Christmas.   

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yup. Brace yourselves for Hurricane “Post Election”!