Does the name Gilbert ring a bell? Maybe you’re too young. How about Sandy and Ivan? These are the names of three of Jamaica’s most dangerous hurricanes. The tropical region is no stranger to hurricanes. They are tropical cyclones formed in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Caribbean Sea and sometimes in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes can happen anytime but are most likely to occur during the Hurricane season, which runs from June through November. They are dangerous and can cause major damage because of storm surge, wind damage, rip currents and flooding. We must know how to prepare for them.
Preparing for a Hurricane
You can’t stop a tropical storm or hurricane, but you can take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. Unlike earthquakes, hurricanes can be forecasted several days ahead of landfall; giving citizens time to take precautions. Follow these important hurricane preparedness tips from the ODPEM:
- Secure the safety of your house: Check thoroughly the roof of your house, hurricane shutters, hooks and latches and repair where necessary. Batten down the windows and trim trees that touch power lines or hang over buildings.
- Get emergency supplies: Stock your home supplies. Give yourself more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water, and medicine supplies.
- Have a family disaster plan: Know your evacuation route and the nearest shelters and other critical facilities such as police station and health centres. Protect older adults and young children; understand their health and medical concerns.
Staying Safe After a Hurricane
In addition to preparing for a hurricane, it’s important to take steps to stay safe when it’s over. Listed below are some recommended safety measures:
- Avoid flooded areas: Always follow warnings about flooded roads. Don’t drive in flooded areas.
- Take care of your emotional health: disasters can cause stress and strong emotions. These emotions can also be heightened due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. It is natural to feel anxiety, grief, and worry. Connecting with family, friends, and community members can help to ease the stress. Additionally, it is essential to seek help if it becomes unbearable.
- Stay away from power lines: Keep away from fallen power lines or lines that are hanging overhead. Instead, report them to your electricity company.
- Be careful near damaged buildings: Do not enter a damaged building until local authorities determine it is safe. Evacuate your home if you hear unusual noises are if the building looks unstable.
Weather can be unpredictable and can affect us wherever we live with very little warning. The good news is, there are ways to prepare for severe weather before it happens and prevent potential storm damage. It is important to follow the directions and warnings given by the relevant authorities. Ensure that you protect your loved ones this Hurricane season.