Hurricane season is upon us and Jamaicans are once again being urged to get into preparation mode. It is not uncommon for many Jamaicans to find themselves caught off guard as a hurricane or tropical storm approaches and we are hit with the outer bands of inclement weather. Many take the view that Jamaica is ‘too blessed’ to be directly hit by these disasters, but Hurricane Sandy in 2012 proved them wrong. And it was only Category 1!
Below, we share some vital information to help you prepare.
Food, water and first aid
- Stock up on non-perishable items. Avoid the last minute stampede on the island’s supermarkets by making your purchases early. Keep in stock tinned goods and other items that can be consumed without cooking, such as breads, biscuits, etc.
- Store enough water to last two weeks for each person in your household. A normal active person requires a minimum of one litre of water per day for drinking and food preparation.
- Create or purchase a first aid kit and keep on hand in case of injury.
- Look over your insurance policy to ensure it provides adequate coverage. Make an inventory of possessions and photograph your house and all the rooms inside for insurance purposes.
- Ensure that your roof, hurricane shutters, hooks and latches are in good condition and make repairs where necessary. If necessary, be sure to ‘batten down’ before a storm hits.
- If your home is at risk, plan in advance where you will stay. Call the ODPEM disaster coordinators for the location of the nearest shelter. If you need transportation to a public shelter due to special needs, such as age, physical disability or mental disorder, register in advance with the nearest parish council office and the ODPEM.
- Check with parish disaster coordinators for available shelters in your area. Find out about adequate amenities/facilities at the shelter ahead of time. Be sure to carry your own food, clothing, medications and other supplies.
- Know the quickest and safest evacuation route from your home to a shelter or wherever you plan to ride out the storm.
- If you are away from home, remain where you are until the hurricane has passed. Many people have lost their lives trying to go from one place to another.
After the storm
- Do not go outside unless it is absolutely necessary. You are in danger of stepping on downed electrical wires or sharp debris.
- Do not touch loose or dangling electrical wires. Report these to the power company, the nearest police station or parish council.
- Report all broken sewer or water mains directly to the parish council, the public works department or water resources authority for your area.
Check out diGJamaica’s preparation guide for more tips, a disaster supplies checklist and important contact information.