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Hurricane Tips

Here are some helpful tips to get you ready this hurricane season.

Before a Hurricane threatens

  • Look over your insurance policy to insure it provides adequate coverage.
  • Check the storm surge history and elevation of your area.
  • Make an inventory of possessions.
  • Photograph your house and all the rooms inside for insurance purposes.
  • Make sure your roofing is properly fastened and secure. make all necessary repairs.
  • Obtain lumber, plywood, and concrete nails for battening up.
  • Know your evacuation route.
  • Organize a place to meet with your family should you become separated during the storm.
  • Clear your yard and drains of debris.
  • Prune trees limbs that are close to your house. They can cause damage to your home or utility wires during a storm.
  • Find a place to move your boat in an emergency
  • If your home is at risk, plan in advanced where you will stay. Call the ODPEM Disaster Co-ordinator 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 disorders; register in advance with the nearest Parish Council Office and the Office of Disaster Preparedness.

When a hurricane threatens

  • Turn refrigerator and freezer to the coldest level. Freeze water in plastic containers.
  • Sanitize bath tubs and fill with water.
  • Tie down or bring in all outdoor objects (such as awnings, patio furniture, garbage cans).
  • Secure or remove satellite dishes, TV or radio antennae from roofs.
  • Pick fruits such as coconuts, mangoes etc., from trees. Clear your yard and drains of debris.
  • Remove all pictures, clocks, books, figurines, tools, office equipment, appliances and important papers (passports, birth certificates etc.); wrap them in plastic or in waterproof containers; and store in a safe room.
  • Turn off electricity at the main switch and remove TV and radio antennae from roofs.
  • Stock up on water and non-perishable foods. Refill prescriptions needed.
  • Fill your car with gas to avoid long lines after the hurricane. Also fill containers for portable generators.
  • Park your car in a place that is safest from falling trees and utility poles.
  • If you are in a high-rise, know the location of the nearest stairways. Don't use the elevator.
  • Batten down windows and doors with shutters or lumber. Wedge sliding glass doors with a bar.
  • Turn off electricity from main switch 24 hours before the storm is expected to hit.
  • Unplug major appliances.

During the hurricane

  • Be calm! Your ability to act logically is very important.
  • Stay inside. Do not go outside unless it is absolutely necessary
  • Stay away from windows and doors even if they are covered. A windowless or interior room or hallway is usually the safest.
    Listen to the radio for information
  • If you are in a two-storey house, stay on the first floor.
  • If you are in a multiple-storey building, take refuge on the first or second floors. Interior stairwells and areas around elevator shafts are usually the strongest part of a building.
  • If your house shows signs of breaking up, stay under a table or stand under a door frame.
  • Do not go outside during the calm when the eye of the hurricane is passing.

After the storm

  • Wait until you hear on the radio or television that the dangerous winds are definitely out of your area.
  • Do not go sight-seeing
  • Do not go outside barefooted. Avoid wearing open shoes and watch out for sharp debris
  • Do not use phones or CB radios unless vital. Keep lines clear for emergency calls.
  • Bury all dead animals as soon as possible.
  • Beware of downed power lines, weakened bridges and washed-out roads, and weakened trees.
  • Purify drinking water by boiling or by adding bleach, 2 drops of bleach per litre of water, 4 drops if the water is cloudy. Do not purify all your water at once.
  • After adding bleach, let water stand for 30 minutes before drinking
  • Use perishable food first , then non- perishable foods and staples after.
  • Do not cook more than is needed for one meal
  • Be alert to prevent fires
  • Report broken sewer or water mains to local authorities
  • Be sure to check your house for structural damage before moving back in.

Emergency Supply Basic List

  • Water, enough to last 2 weeks
  • Foods that do not require cooking:
  • Canned or salted fish and meat
  • Packaged oats
  • Biscuits and crackers
  • Condensed or powdered milk
  • Canned soups and vegetables
  • Juices
  • Cereals
  • Coffee, Tea.
  • Flour, Rice, Cornmeal, Sugar and Salt
  • Infant formula
  • Bread

Emergency Supply Extended List

  • Battery-operated radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Matches and candles, Hurricane lamps
  • Bleach and other cleaners
  • First Aid Kit: petroleum jelly, aspirin, eye wash, bandages, cotton, diarrhoea medication, antacid , laxative
  • Tissue, soap, sanitary napkins
  • Disposable cups, plates, utensils
  • Can opener
  • Large plastic trash bags
  • Containers for water and fuel storage
  • Coal or oil stove, barbeque grill
  • Cooking utensils
  • Portable cooler
  • 100 feet of rope, Tape
  • Needle and thread, scissors
  • Blankets and towels
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Tarpailin (canvas or plastic)

Storage tips for water and food

  • Store enough water to last 2 weeks for each person in your household. A normal active person requires a minimum of 1 litre of water per day for drinking and food preparation.
  • Water should be stored in clean, well covered containers.
  • Label the containers with the current date and renew your drinking supply each month.
  • Store emergency food in waterproof containers.
  • Arrange items so that those stored first will be used first.
  • Observe expiration dates on packaged foods.
  • Wrap bread, cookies and crackers, dry good in plastic bags and keep in tight containers.
  • Your storage area should be dry, cool and free from contamination by insects, poisons and other chemicals.
  • Several utility poles were uprooted and their wires and equipment left dangling on the roads after Hurricane Gilbert.

Evacuation and shelters

A shelter provides temporary housing for persons unable to continue their living arrangements in separate family units, as a result of an emergency incident such as flood, earthquake or hurricane.

It is advised to evacuate your home if:

  • In an area that continually floods, near the coastline or a stream likely to overflow, in a low-lying area,
  • you feel that your home will not offer adequate protection
  • advised by authorities
  • Take your own supplies to the shelter including food, change of clothes, medicine, sanitary need, battery-operated radio and flashlight important papers.
    Do not take alcoholic beverages, weapons or pets to shelters.

Below are the numbers for the various emergency centres.

PARISH EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS

National EOC (ODPEM) 906-9674/5 754-9078/9

Kingston and St Andrew: Terry-Ann Foster - 967-3329, 922-0254
Portmore: Phillippa Ricketts - 740-0789, 740-7440-2
Clarendon: C. Williams - 986-2216, 986-2234 or 986-2403
Hanover: Desmond Dorman - 956-2951, 956-2131
Manchester: LaJean Powell - 962-2278-9, 363-3068 or 775-2630
Portland: Denise Lewis -993-2165
St Ann: Alvin Clarke - 972-2615-6
St Catherine: Patricia Lewis - 984-3111-2
St Elizabeth: Shane Taylor - 965-2265, 965-2267
St James: Tamoy Sinclair -971-9088 or 952-5500-2
St Mary: Yolande Williams-Jankie - 577-8307 or 994-2178
St Thomas: Millicent Blake - 982-9449, 982-2227
Trelawny: Dion Hylton-Lewis - 397-2269 or 954-3970
Westmoreland: Hilma Tate - 360-7686 or 955-2798

 

Jamaica Gleaner 2003-10

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