Hurricane safety measures, of course, will vary from home to home and community to community depending on locations as well as other conditions. For most people, however, the safest place to weather a storm is at home, if the residence is well built and out of reach of the expected high tides and/or flood waters. As a reminder, the following time-tested hurricane Safety suggestions are listed.
What to do by June Annually
1. Know the members of your NEMA District Volunteers and where the shelters are located.
2. Check the hurricane insurance on your property and understand what it covers. Also have Medical Insurance and know what it covers.
3. If you have recently moved to a new district, check with senior residents about flooding conditions. Also find out if the area is subject to storm surge.
4. Be a blood donor and have your blood checked and grouped at the Blood Bank at the hospital. It does not hurt to give blood and is not harmful to your health. Quantities of blood may be required after a hurricane, or a member of your family might need some for an operation.
5. Make your own check list of things you will have to do if a hurricane threatens. Give priorities and keep this up-dated.
6. Get tetanus shots for your family if necessary.
7. Do not pack refrigerator or freezer with lots of perishable foods.
Outside your home
1. Check that the roof of your house is secure. Nail galvanize along with every contour around the edge of roof as this will give considerable strength. Fit storm shutters, and number the shutters to windows and doors for quick attachment. Termites may have damaged last year’s storm shutters so check and keep in a good state of repair.
2. Trim trees from wires (electrical, cable, telephone etc.) and from buildings. Coconut trees should have long vertical limbs cut off. This reduces chances of trees blowing over or snapping off.
Inside your house
1. Have a list of emergency food/supplies you will need to have if a hurricane threatens. If possible, keep the food supply at home; you can use it after the hurricane season. It should be tins/packaged foods that do not spoil.
2. Keep some basic tools in your home. Professional claw hammer, 3ft. wood saw, cutlass, file, 101b. assorted nails. Also battery equipped radio, kerosene lamps, waterproof flashlight, First Aid Kit and Manual, rain coat, rain hat, umbrella, and some clean plastic bags (garbage bags) ready for any emergency. Water containers are most important. The plastic pails in which salted meat, paint, soap powder etc. are shipped, should be considered.
3. Also have mops, towels and cloths available to clean up water if heavy torrential rain beats into your house.
Before the storm
1. Dismantle television and other antennas.
2. Purchase food as shops may not open for several days after a hurricane. You need food that does not require cooking or refrigeration.
3. Pack enough food for your family for 24 hours in case you have to evacuate to a shelter. The Ministry of Social Development will begin feeding shelterees about three (3) days after a hurricane strikes. You can stay alive without food for 10 days. Shelter space is for people, not equipment.
4. Bring in and store porch and lawn furniture, garden tools, garbage bins and other objects which might blow away in strong wind.
5. Tightly close any metal or wooden awnings, put up storm shutters, board windows and tape glass doors. Use good lumber because makeshift boarding may do more damage than good.
6. Fill your gasoline tank and put the car in a garage or another safe place away form large trees. Check battery and tires, be sure your automobile is in good operating condition.
7. Keep in readiness one or two hurricane lanterns filled with kerosene. Also keep in stock a supply of charcoal for cooking purposes.
8. Store as much water as you can. It may be days, weeks before public water supply is reinstated. Fill all available containers such as bath tubs, barrels, buckets, saucepans, bottles etc.. Without fluid (water) you will die in 2-3 days. A minimum quantity of drinking water per day is one gallon per person for 10 days. Water which is not in a clean, sealed container must be boiled for at least 10 minutes before drinking.
9. Have a good cooked meal before hurricane strikes.
10. A small quantity of first aid supplies may be useful.
11. Get your fishing pots and gear out of the water at first warning. Move boats to higher ground.
12. If you have 100 1b. gas cylinders attached just outside your house, tie cylinders together and turn off at the valve.
13. If you have a 251b. gas bottle inside the house, remove the regulator from the bottle, entirely. Do not replace it until the house can be opened again and complete ventilation is restored.
14. Make yourself acquainted with the system of hazard warnings.
15. Make sure that you know the emergency shelter(s) for the area in which you live.
16. Know the elderly persons living in your area who will require help if a hurricane threatens. Keep a list and make yourself known to them.
17. Feed your animals and give water and untie them.
18. Remove pictures/cups/ornaments from walls and store in drawers.
19. Turn up freezer/fridge to its coldest temperature/setting.
20. No one knows how long the electricity will be off. It may be necessary to cook most of the perishable items before the hurricane strikes.
21. Do not use alcoholic drinks.
22. Do not occupy telephone lines with unnecessary calls.
23. Pay no attention to rumors, alarmists or malicious persons who may share fraudulent and or incorrect alerts and warnings.
During the storm
1 Keep tuned to local radio stations and media outlets.
2 When the hurricane approaches, open a window or door on the side of the house opposite the one facing the wind, to stabilize pressure and reduce possible damage.
3 Should the centre, or “eye” of the storm pass directly over our area there will be a lull of a few minutes to a half hour or more, stay inside unless you have emergency repairs to make. Remember the wind will return suddenly from the opposite direction, frequently with even greater intensity.
4 Close windows and open one on the opposite side of the house.
5 Avoid opening refrigerator and freezer doors unnecessarily after the power goes off. These units will maintain cold temperature for several hours.
6 If you have to evacuate to a shelter, take the minimum food and water for your family for 24 hours. Also take a flashlight, blanket, rain clothing, toilet paper, a pair of shoes, valuable personal documents (Passport, land papers, insurance, Will, Birth Certificate) and secure in water proof containers. Families should remain together and ensure to calm children. Do not take animals/pets or furniture to the shelter. Help the Shelter Management Team.
7 When the hurricane is striking turn the main switch off in your house as a good safety measure.
After the storm
1. Check all members of your family to see if they need medical aid. If so, take the injured person(s) to the nearest doctor, first aid station or hospital.
2. Do not drive your automobile unless absolutely necessary and, if you do, drive slowly to avoid downed electric wires and other debris. Additionally, be aware that, soil may be washed from beneath pavements, which may collapse under the weight of vehicles.
3. Do not go sight seeing.
4. Do not touch any of the many wire/cables which may be lying on the ground or across building. Report damage to power and water lines and cables to the authorities.
5. Survey your property and make any necessary emergency repairs.
6. If your house has been damaged, a qualified electrician should check all internal wiring for repairs, before turning on the main switch.
7. Take down shutters and store your lumber in a handy place for future use.
8. Do not use your regular water supply or food unless you know it is safe.
9. Inspect outside gas bottle installation(s) and if everything seems alright, open the cylinder valve. However, if damage is observed, leave it shut off and call the supplier.
10. Stay away from disaster areas unless you are qualified and received permission to provide needed assistance.
11. Listen to local media houses for information. If they are off, contact the NEMA or NDMD for Alerts or Warnings that may have been posted, also listen to stations in neighboring islands, in the event they are relaying pertinent information on the country’s behalf.
12. Seek medical assistance for those injured during the storm.
13. Do not move dead bodies unless in danger of being washed away. Advise police and leave someone to guard until the police arrives.
14. Wear raincoat, hat and shoes.
15. Check in water with a stick, for holes/washouts in paths or roadways.
16. Do not loot and discourage/prevent others from such actions.
17. Bury dead animals/burn.
18. Use telephone if necessary but not for extended periods.
19. Check on senior citizens, children and persons with disabilities or special needs.
20. Photograph and make written records of damage, for insurance purposes.
21. No swimming in rough seas or flood waters.
22. Do not drink un-boiled water. Boil for about 10 minutes.
23. Keep high sanitary standards. Do not throw debris or garbage in ghauts, open spaces, abandoned property or streets.
24. Report missing persons to the Police and other Authorities.