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Published 31st August 2011, 1:11pm

The statistical peak of the Hurricane season is September 10th, and a marked increase in cyclone activity usually occurs in the middle of August. We have witnessed this increase in activity in the 2011 season by the seven named storms that have already been recorded in August alone. Starting on August 1 there was Emily, August 13 Franklin, August 14 Gert, August 19 Harvey, August 20 Irene, August 28 Jose, and August 30 Katia.

Residents must be ready if a storm threatens the Cayman Islands. Preparedness is best done in advance and become part of your lifestyle, not in the state of panic when a warning is issued. Only you can take the steps necessary to ensure that the minimum preparations are made, as it can save your life and property. Donít depend on the Government for your survival. Protecting the things you canít replace is the number one priority. Be ready to seek shelter if your home is low lying or vulnerable to storm surge.

Every house should have a three day stock of emergency food and water; a battery operated radio, a flashlight, and waterproof container / plastic bag for your vital documents. For persons with medical issues or infants in the house extra efforts should be taken to ensure that these special needs are addressed. Plan for your pets ensure that you take care of their needs. If you are going to a shelter make arrangements for sheltering your pet also.

Tuna fish, corned beef and chili are good examples of canned foods that have long shelf life and can be prepared quickly. Also granola bars and nuts are cost effective options that can give you a swift energy boost when you need it.

Past storms have caused disruption in the public utilities services such as electricity, piped water etc and as such we have to operate with the expectation that this is a possibility. Generators, water storage containers and gas cans are good items to have on hand for your preparedness. In addition, tropical cyclones will caused the closure of supermarkets, banks, gas stations and other businesses; check your supplies and stock up if necessary, have some cash on hand and fill your vehicle with gas and get it to higher ground.

Realistically, it may take several days to clean up and get services back to normal. Residents need to prepare for such scenarios and develop a family plan by asking the following questions:

What will I / my family do if the islands are threatened by a storm?

Is my home / location safe?

Where will I ride out the storm?

What do I need to protect myself and family from harm?

What supplies do I have for my preparedness kit?

While we hope for an uneventful season, it only takes one storm to do damage, so be prepared.

The former Director of the National Hurricane Center, Max Mayfield put it this way: ďWith just a little bit of advance planning you can be ahead of the game. There's going to be enough stress anyway when a hurricane comes. Please don't wait until the last minute. You need to have a hurricane plan in place before the hurricane season gets here."