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Chairman of the National Hazard Management Council

Published 13th May 2016, 2:41pm

National Day of Preparedness Message. Deputy Governor, Hon. Franz Manderson, Chairman National Hazard Management Council.

May 16th is National Day of Preparedness in the Cayman Islands. This year the theme is: “Don’t let your guard down!” 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.

Before the season starts, determine where you plan to shelter in the event of an approaching hurricane. Storm surge is the primary threat to life. The surge in past hurricanes has exceeded 20 feet; 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. If you intend to leave the Islands prior to, or after a hurricane, you must ensure that all travel documents are updated and that visas or visa waivers are obtained. You must also bear in mind that passports are no longer issued locally.

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.

• 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.

September is the peak month of the hurricane season, but early and late season storms sometimes form in the western Caribbean so be prepared throughout the entire season. 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.

Regardless of the forecast for the season, it only takes one storm to cause damage and disrupt our lives. So please don’t let your guard down and let us be prepared for the hurricane season and beyond.

Thank you.