‘Rain a fall breeze a blow’ and during a hurricane you definitely don’t want to be ‘out a door’. The hurricane season every year starts on June 1 and runs to November 30. Each year countries that are prone to hurricanes are glued to their local weather report trying to stay up to date. Since the start of Hurricane Season 2019, there have been 5 total storms with the first storm breaking the usual pattern and forming in May. With these new changes in hurricane patterns, we can’t take preparedness lightly. Here are a few ways you can weather the storm. 

  1. Stay in the know: You can’t be prepared if you’re unaware of what is going on. In addition to keeping up with storm watch news reports, you can also get a hurricane tracker app or check the Office of Disaster Preparedness Management’s website

  1. Stock up on the essentials: During and after a hurricane there can be limited access to supplies such as food and water. Start stocking up on supplies as soon as the hurricane season begins. Reach for non-perishable, ready-to-eat food items and easily portable bottles of water in case you need to leave your home. It is also important to have potable water on hand as the National Water Commission might not be able to restore safe or consistent supply due to damage to infrastructure. During particularly strong storms the Jamaica Public Service will decide to shut down their grids so having lanterns, generators, batteries, flashlight and other sources of powers is a must. 

  1. Secure your home: Houses take a great deal of the blow during hurricanes. Though Jamaica has strict building codes that maximize the ability of our infrastructure to withstand the brutalities of hurricanes, there are ways to reinforce homes when hurricanes are about to strike. 

    1. Install storm shutters to protect windows

    2. Cut trees/branches that are hanging close to and/or above the house or electrical wires

    3. Check for leaks or compromised areas on the roof

  1. Have an exit strategy: Some areas are prone to flooding and landslides and will be evacuated as soon as there is a threat of a storm. Other areas might be less likely to flood but nothing can be ruled out during a hurricane. If you drive, ensure you have supplies such as extra clothing, medication, a first aid kit, food and water in your trunk. Note: It is not advisable to go outside during a hurricane. Emergency personnel will indicate if you are safe to leave your home and move to a shelter. Ensure you know the nearest shelter or emergency stations (hospital, police or fire station) to your home so you can easily find shelter. 

  1. Educate your children: Hurricanes can be scary for younger children but by helping them understand the situation you not only make it less scary for them - you ensure that they are aware of the seriousness of it. This will make them more likely to quickly participate in any emergency evacuations as they will have a better idea of the urgency. They must also be informed of where to find the emergency supplies and who to contact if things go wrong. 

Remember - it’s better to be prepared and not have a hurricane than to have a hurricane and not be prepared. What are some hurricane tips you would add to this list?