National Day of Preparedness Message
Published 17th May 2013, 4:14pm
May 20th is National Day of Preparedness in the Cayman Islands. This year the theme is “Get your Preparedness Kit together!” An active 2013 hurricane season is forecast; residents should therefore ensure that they are prepared.
National Day of Preparedness is observed each year in the Cayman Islands to encourage residents to prepare for the hurricane season and any other natural disaster. The day is observed on a public holiday, Discovery Day, so that all residents can have the opportunity to review their respective family plans and level of personal preparedness for the hurricane season.
At an absolute minimum, residents should have a supply of non-perishable food (e.g. canned goods) to last at least three days but preferably one week. Water can be bottled prior to the approach of a cyclone but again it is vital to have a supply (a gallon per person per day) to last a week. For example, if there are four people in your house, you should have about 28 gallons of water stored. That is about six cases of small water bottles (7 small water bottles to a gallon).
Before the season starts, try to determine where you plan to shelter if a hurricane threatens. Storm surge is the primary threat to life. The surge (not including the waves) has exceeded 20 feet in past hurricanes that have impacted the Cayman Islands; so if you live on the coast or in a low lying area, it is likely you will want to move to a less vulnerable location.
Residents are reminded that shelters are not equipped to take pets therefore alternative arrangements should be made.
Residents who intend to leave the Islands prior to, or after, a hurricane, must ensure that all travel documents are updated and that visas or visa waivers are obtained.
It is important to take steps to minimize your dependence on Government, family or friends to support you in the aftermath of a storm, so begin taking the steps needed to get prepared.
· Put together an emergency supply of food and water.
· If you have a generator get it serviced and check your shutters; sometimes rust and debris can accumulate in the tracks and this can make them hard to install.
· Check insurance policies to ensure they are current.
· Remove debris from the yard and trim back trees that could fall on your roof.
· Get a battery operated radio and a flashlight.
· Statistically, September is the peak month of the hurricane season, but early and late season storms sometimes form in the western Caribbean. When this occurs (as was the case with Hurricane Paloma) the lead time for preparation can be short. Don’t get caught out, set aside food and water for 5 to 7 days.
Civil servants are reminded that they have a duty to maintain a high level of personal and family preparedness at all times. The country depends on our Emergency Services and First Responders to be ready in a time of crisis, however following the “All Clear” I expect all Civil Servants to contribute to the recovery, including the performance of additional duties above and beyond their regular work schedule during the response phase.