Be safe, be prepared: Loop News Hurricane tips

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Jamaicans wait anxiously for heavy winds and rains after the Meteorological Service put the island under hurricane watch for the possible impact of Hurricane Beryl.

This is arguably one of the worst times to be caught unprepared, however, there are many steps you can take to make the ordeal less tasking, and somewhat a more seamless process.

Adapted from the Caribbean Disaster Readiness Manual, 1997-2007, Loop News presents some helpful tips and strategies in preparation for Hurricane Beryl before, during, and after the hurricane.

It is important to note that there are no certainties in times of natural disasters. It is always recommended that you take precautions as the old adage goes: ‘prevention is better than cure’.


Before the hurricane…

Secure the following survival kits (listed in detail below) for you and your family. 

Save all emergency contacts (police, fire and rescue, ambulance) in your contacts list.

Fully charge your device(s) and keep portable mobile and/or car chargers ready.

Conserve your battery power by closing non-essential applications and reducing screen brightness.

Designate a calm family member as the central contact person and keep calls brief.

In the aftermath, networks can become congested so SMS text messages may be the best, fastest way of communicating.

During the hurricane…

Unless it is absolutely necessary, stay indoors. When the winds get very strong, what it may do can be unpredictable, in the past, people have been flung for long distances and/or hit by flying objects.

Children should not be taken outside, since they may be in danger as well.

If you are away from home, remain where you are until the hurricane has passed.

Keep a hurricane lamp burning if you can as it may make the long nights more tolerable.

Be prepared for any possible damage, but try to stay calm in such occurence, and contact emergency hotlines as soon as possible in the event of damages. Remember, your ability to think rationally, and act logically is important.

Try to stay alert by monitoring the news as much as possible.

After the hurricane…

If necessary, seek medical attention at first-aid stations, hospitals or clinics for persons injured during the storm.

Do not touch loose or dangling electrical wires. Instead, report these to the JPS, the nearest police station, or the parish council.

Report broken sewer or water mains directly to the parish council, the public works department or the NWC.

Try to refrain from using water which has been stored immediately after the storm until regular water services have been restored.

Do not empty water stored in bathtubs or other receptacles until safe water is restored.

Boil all drinking water until you are sure that a safe water supply has been restored.

Watch out for felled trees and broken glass. Do not go outside barefooted, and avoid wearing open-toe shoes.


Various survival kits for a Hurricane

Survival Kit 1: Water

Store water in plastic containers. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as glass bottles, paper containers. If possible, it is recommended that you store one gallon of water per person per day. Keep at least a seven-day supply of water for each person in your household. Do not forget water for your pets.

Survival Kit 2: Food

Store at least a seven-day supply of non-perishable food items. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation of cooking and little or no water. These include: fresh farm produce (that has not been refrigerated), canned meats, fruits and vegetables, juices, crackers and so on. In instances where there’s a power outage, it is recommended that you prepare and consume the perishable items as quickly as possible, so as to prevent food contamination, infection, and waste.

Survival Kit 3: First-Aid

A viable, useful first-aid kit should include the following: Adhesive bandages in varying sizes; sterile gauze pads; a small pair of scissors; needle and thread (for stitching/suturing purposes); assorted safety pins; a supply of non-prescription medications such as over-the-counter painkillers, alcohol, and cotton. For members of the household on prescription medication, it’s recommended to have at least a month’s supply on hand.

Survival Kit 4: Tools and supplies

Battery-operated radio and extra batteries; candles; lanterns (aka ‘Home Sweet Home’ lamps); flash lights, one per person, with extra batteries for each; an ample supply of cash for emergency or evacuation purposes; a manual can opener if you will; utility knife; and plastic sheeting to protect valuable documents such as birth certificates, passports and other valuables for safekeeping.

Survival Kit 5: Sanitation

Gather as many as you can: toilet paper, soap, feminine supplies, personal hygiene products, plastic garbage bags, plastic buckets, each with a tight lid; disinfectant, and household bleach.

Survival Kit 6: Clothing and Bedding

Include at least three complete change of clothing and footwear per person; sturdy shoes or workboots; rain gear sans umbrellas; and blankets or sleeping bags.