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First serious threat of hurricane season approaches


Four months into the 2016 hurricane season we are facing our first serious imminent threat of bad weather for the season.

The National Emergency Council of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) will meet today to discuss the weather system that is expected to bring heavy rains and strong gusty winds across the islands during its passage.{{more}}

But while the government officials ensure that national systems are ready to be activated at a moment’s notice, we must ensure that we too are in a state of preparedness at home and on the job. Now is the time to ensure that our family emergency plans are up to date and that each member of the family is familiar with what to do in the event of an emergency. Stock up on non-perishable food items and medication, cut overhanging branches and carry out repairs to vulnerable areas of our homes.

If at all possible, homeowners should ensure that their homes are insured. There are some persons for whom this may not be possible, but it may surprise some to know that owners of quite substantial homes in our communities gamble that they will never need the insurance coverage.

Much of the damage to homes is caused by flood waters. With increasing deforestation and our topography forcing more and more persons to construct homes on our hillsides, we, as homeowners, should be mindful of the damage which run-off from our property can do to our neighbours’ homes, and take steps to ensure that our drains are clear and that waste water is effectively channelled away from others.

What about our business emergency plans? Are there systems in place to protect the company’s assets and make it possible to to resume operations as quickly as possible? Have arrangements been made for employees to get home safely before the expected time of arrival of the system?

During the course of today, persons living in low lying, flood prone areas should decide where they will go for safe haven, should the situation warrant it. We publish in today’s newspaper, on page 15, a list of approved emergency shelters. Take a look at it and identify the shelter closest to your home.

Let us not be caught unprepared, and let us not cause distress to ourselves and others by not taking the steps we know we should.