All Systems Go - Hurricane Preparedness
It may not have been raining when Noah built the ark but, Divine intervention or not, it sure paid to plan ahead. With the 2011 hurricane season upon us (June 1 Ã�Â¢Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½ November 30), Caribbean residents would be wise to follow NoahÃ�Â¢Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½s lead: hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
Words by ....
Fortune favours the prepared mind
- Know the risk factors from storm surge, flooding and wind for your area and gauge your home’s vulnerability.
- Identify official public shelters and designated Emergency Medical Centres.
- Know when to take action.
- Follow local advisories.
- Devise and share a comprehensive family plan (pets, boats, vehicles, etc.).
- Check insurance coverage is current and relevant to your needs.
- Track hurricane activity on a map.
Pre-Storm Preparation 101
Work that checklist
- Gather emergency supplies to last each person 3 – 7 days (non-perishable food, water – one gallon per person per day, first aid, prescription medications).
- Prepare Disaster Supply Kit (essential documentation, provisions for the young, elderly and family pets).
- Inspect property, make repairs and ensure complicity with local hurricane codes.
- Remove debris – anything that could become a hazardous missile in heavy winds should be brought inside or anchored firmly in place.
- Install hurricane shutters on doors and windows.
- Prepare electrical items within the home: charge useful items and unplug appliances.
- Turn refrigerator and freezer to maximum settings. When electricity is disconnected, turn off all breakers for branch circuits to avoid overloading the grid when power is reinstated.
- Remember a battery-powered radio, torches, lanterns and spare batteries.
- Disconnect car battery. Keep booster cables and spare automotive fuses on hand.
- Fuel up vehicles and obtain fuel for any portable generators.
- Create and execute a sound plan to protect your boat.
- Withdraw extra cash in case of bank closures following the storm.
Calling Your Mum
- Charge phones and laptops. Obtain spare batteries and car chargers.
- Purchase extra credit on prepaid mobile phones.
- Protect phones in heavy-duty, waterproof bags.
- Programme emergency contact numbers. Supply family members with important numbers for communication during and after a storm.
Get Down to Business
- Prepare, distribute and exercise your Business Disaster Recovery Plan. Employee safety comes first.
- Secure computer data, equipment, hard copy files and other vital information. Back up electronic information and store disks safely.
- Discuss with your insurance agent the extent of your coverage and ensure it fits your requirements.
- Follow the advice of local authorities.
- Establish lines of communication between the Disaster Reaction Coordinator and essential staff.
- Ready the building (shutter windows, clear compound and sandbag doors).
- Allow non-essential staff to go home to make personal preparations.
- Follow all operational instructions for safe generator use. Deaths and injuries from electric shock, fire and carbon monoxide poisoning have been attributed to improper use.
- NEVER use a generator indoors or in poorly ventilated areas.
- Install Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms with battery back-up, according to manufacturer’s installation instructions.
- Test batteries frequently.
- Local officials can order evacuations if they see fit.
- If you decide to evacuate, do so early.
- Prior to hurricane season, organise necessary visas and passport renewals.
- Arrange accommodations in advance.
- Make arrangements for your property and pets.
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