Storms and Common Sense
We are full of understanding
when it come to storms.
We track potential disasters on our phones and tablets using Weather Centre apps and have our favourite personality weather reporters on TV. Local newspapers have printed weather tracker maps for many years.
However, with the incidence and magnitude of our recent storms, it's no longer just a season.
It's only common sense to ‘up our game’ in practical terms, to meet the potential of these new forces of nature.
Always time to be smart about safety, now we must be as proactive as possible to protect our families and property.
There are three distinctive phases of critical consideration; before, during and after the storm.
Time to make a plan for and with your family
so everyone is on the same page.
Storms reduce mobility, communication and are
life threatening; families are often in many different locations, on a daily basis.
Rule of thumb
Where ever possible, at the earliest warning of impending bad weather, bring everyone together, preferably at
the family home (with designated safe spaces in the event of major damage). If that’s not possible, always have
a prearranged plan B location.
Organise important items and information
In these data driven, security conscious days,
we accumulate so many items of critical importance such as bank and insurance documents, keys, prized possessions, computers, phones, medical devices
and so many things that we generally take for granted.
We even have technology to find them when they are misplaced!
In the few hours of bad weather that will forever alter our lives, these items will be critical to our reinvention.
Begin the process of collecting these necessities
in one place, in a weather/ water resistant,
easily movable container.
Food, water, light, fuel, health and communication will be critical to our survival during and after the bad weather, so stock up on the following:
- Nutritious non refrigerated, tinned and dried foods.
- Store plenty of drinking water in bottles and washing water in rain barrels.
- A kitchen water filter system | water purification tablets.
- Extra cooking gas.
- Coal pot or barbecue grill and coals.
- Radio, torches, lanterns and batteries.
- Portable USB battery charger for mobile phones.
- All necessary medication and first aid supplies.
- Solar emergency power source, or devices with built in solar capability.
- Make provision for your pets - Tinned or dried food,
dry bedding, litter, carry basket, a good leash.
Remember, what scares you, will terrify them,
so be extra caring.
Create a GO BAG for each family member containing practical changes of warm clothing which are easily washed and dried with weather proof shoes, coat and hat.
Include personal items such as penlight torches, chargers, small games and favourite books or toys.
It may be a while before services are restored,
so consider things which will occupy this time.
This is not a cosmetic exercise or a rehearsal for an unlikely event. It is often simply the lifeline between disaster and survival. Our technology is great, but nature is greater. We are now sharing the burden of global warming and poor global environmental awareness.
So let us be proactive and do as much as we can to ensure our safety, while removing the possibility of becoming part of an accumulated problem during and after natural disasters.
By now we are well versed in COVID-19 protocols regarding social distancing and sanitisation.
We must now consider implementation of these under potential storm conditions. These are real parallel problems of health and safety, played out in hazardous conditions. How well these protocols are applied will determine how we will protect ourselves from a complex condition.
To this end, face masks, rigorous sanitisation and distancing must be of prime importance, especially when close grouping may be necessary at the height of storm conditions. and in the aftermath of a disaster.
Where possible, it is always recommended to designate well ventilated, dry and damp free, safe zone areas, within your home or shelter, with adequate sanitiser, disposable tissue, face masks, toilet and washing facilities, seating or rest areas within social distancing protocols and changes of clean, dry clothing for prolonged periods of stay.
Try to do this at the earliest possible time so you can adjust the plan to best suit your needs.
Maintaining the discipline of distancing throughout this process is paramount to safety. Even organising regular sanitisation can go a long way to reducing risk.
These are basic standards. Please contact your own National Emergency Management Organisations for further guidance, especially when utilising community shelters or safe zones.
Now focus on your home
With your family plan and supplies in place,
turn your focus to your home.
Your location, access, house materials, building condition and drainage should influence all protection and survival plans.
- If you are in an area prone to puddling or flooding,
your drains and runoffs must be clear from obstructions at all times.
- Review where flood water comes from.
- Try to reroute or deepen drains, to slow and change the direction of flow, away from you home.
- Always be aware of your neighbours in the changes you make. Enlist their involvement to the benefit of all.
- Check your roof for weaknesses, enlist the services of roofing contractors and update or strengthen all roof sheets where necessary.
- Check your gutters and downpipes for obstructions.
- If possible, make sure you have tools on hand, which relate to your capabilities and understanding of tasks which you may encounter, after the storm.
eg. hammer, saw, screw drivers, spanner, crow bar, etc.
If this is not possible, connect with a reliable neighbour, friend or relative who may be able to promptly assist you.
Rule of thumb
Roofs, gutters, downpipes runoffs and drains are designed to carry and keep water away from us.
If you control water, you reduce risk.
Steel roofs, doors, shutters and walls are to protect us from the elements.
If these are secured with locks, screws, nails, straps or bars, tightened to refusal,
or firmly strengthened by steel and concrete, our security is vastly increased.
Once you have made your assessment
make a short list of additions, or changes and have cost out the work to be done, call our knowledgeable sales department at ECMIL.
Buying from a manufacturer will make a significant saving on your materials and in many cases may make the work even possible.
Your sales representative will guide you through the ordering process and provide, often much needed advice to help you make the right choices for your project.
Our products are reliable, durable and trusted by Caribbean construction companies and individuals across our Region for almost 40 years.
For more information on storm survival with specific reference to your location
contact your local National Emergency Management Organisation, office or equivalent.
National Emergency Management Organisations
The Department of Disaster Management
The Government of Anguilla
James Ronald Webster Building
The Valley, AI-2640, Anguilla
Tel: (264) 497-2926
Fax (264) 497-3134
Email : email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
National Office of Disaster Services
PO. Box 1399, American Road
St. John’s Antigua.
Tel: (268) 462-4206 | Int: (268) 562-2144 / 460-7075
Fax: (268) 462-4742
National Emergency Management Agency,
Ground Floor, Churchill Building
Rawson Square, Nassau
New Providence, The Bahamas
Tel. (242) 322-6081/5
Fax. (242) 326-5456
Director Central Emergency Relief Org.
Cnr James and Colridge Streets Bridgetown, Barbados
Tel: (246) 427-8513
Fax: (246) 429-4055
City of Belmopan,
Belize, Central America
Tel: (501) 822-2054/0995
Emergency Line: (501) 936
Fax: (501) 822-2861/802-0874
Department of Disaster Management
Government of the BVI
DeCastro Street, Road Town
British Virgin Islands
Tel: (284) 468-4200
Fax: (284) 494-2024
Office of Disaster Management
Commonwealth of Dominica
Tel: (767) 448-7777
Fax: (767) 448-2883
Acting National Disaster Coordinator
National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA)
Fort Frederick, Mt. Wheldale St. Georges, Grenada
Tel: (473) 440-0838
Fax: (473) 440-6674
Civil Defense Commission Camp
Ayangauna Annex, Thomas Lands Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: (592) 226-1114, 226-1117, 226-9201, 262-8815
Fax: (592) 226-1027
Office Of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management
P.O. Box 122, 12 Camp Road Kingston, 4 Jamaica
Tel: (876) 928-5111-4
Fax: (876Z) 928-5503/8763
Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA)
St. John’s, Montserrat
Tel: (664) 491-7166
Fax: (664) 491-2465/7003
Saint Kitts and Nevis
National Disaster Coordinator
National Emergency Management Agency
Taylors, Basseterre Saint Kitts and Nevis
Tel: (869) 466-5100
Fax: (869) 466-5310
National Disaster Coordinator
National Emergency Management Office
P.O. Box 1517
Red Cross Building Vigie, Saint Lucia
Tel: (758) 452-3802
Fax: (758) 453-2152
Saint Vincent and The Grenadines
National Emergency Management Office
Office of the Prime Minister,
Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Tel: (784) 456-2975
Em: (784) 458-6366
Fax: (784) 457-1691
Trinidad and Tobago
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM)
Temple Court 1,
31-33 Abercromby Street,
Port of Spain, Trinadad and Tobago
Tel: (868) 623-2441-5
Fax: (868) 627-8044
Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency
In the event of a storm...
Heed all Official Warnings.
Be Safe. Stay Safe.
DON'T take unnecessary risks.
Wait for the All Clear,
before venturing out from safety.
NB. This article is for general information purposes only and is meant as an incentive to the reader, who should then research and seek advice from appropriate National Emergency Management Organisation professionals,
to confirm that the recommendations expressed are in alignment with the standards and directives of their territory, which may vary from time to time.