Jamaican Hurricane/Storm Checklist
Hurricane Matthew 2016
Well, the hurricane season is in and hurricane Matthew is up on us, whew :-( . Being prepared allows us to secure the things that are important to us and also gives us the peace of mind we'll need to ride out the storm.
But you know what? In the eagerness to get prepared we sometimes forgot or overlook some of the most important things.
So here is a simple but very effective checklist I've put together to help you (or your family/ friends) before, during & after the hurricane.
It contains highly informative hurricane tips, particularly relevant to Jamaica
Please be sure to share it.
Before The Hurricane
- Ensure you have enough water to last until the utility is restored (3 days min)
- Ensure you have enough non-perishable foods for each person (3 days min), including:
- Canned foods
- Cereals, breads or crackers
- Bottled juice &
- Bottled water
- Disposable dishware/utensils
- Baby food
- Toiletries for at least 3 days, including
- Wipes and feminine hygiene products
- Toothpaste, toothbrush & deodorants (especially for evacuation purposes)
- Baby diapers, if required.
- Stock up your hurricane kit! This includes:
- Flashlight and extra bulb/batteries
- Portable/car cell phone charger
- Battery operated radio
- Battery operated lantern or the 'good ole' kerosene oil lamp
- First Aid kit, containing:
- Ahesive tape
- Antiseptic solution
- Over the counter medication
- Children's medicine, etc.
- Duct Tape
- Matches or Lighter
- You'll also need to stock up on...
- Adequate amount of oil, petrol (kerosene for lamps or gas for car/generator)
- Clean clothes
- Hand gloves
- Garbage bags
- A clock
- Rain gear
- Remove outdoor items that could become missiles.
- Trim dead branches from trees near your house.
- Move furniture away from windows
- Board up windows
- Get extra cash (of course). Remember, the ATM's will be out too
- Fill car gas tanks and empty containers
- And, very important...
- Have copies of important documents, including photographs, in waterproof folder or container. This include your ID's, TRN, Passport, Birth Certificates, School Certificates etc.
- Have enough of prescription medication you'll need to take
- Take pictures or videos of your property before the storm, just in case. This can be used for insurance purposes later
- Charge your cell phone fully so you will have a full battery in case you lose power
- Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded
- Follow evacuation orders from local officials, if given
- And just before the hurricane... reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors
During The Hurricane
- First up... stay inside! Yup, that's a warning!
- Secondly... stay calm and pray! Seriously
- Listen to your battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions
- Stay away from windows. Flying glass from broken windows could injure you
- If flooding threatens your home, turn off electricity at the main breaker
- If you lose power, turn off major appliances such as the air conditioner and water heater to reduce damage.
- Do not use electrical appliances, including your computer
- Remember, do not go outside. If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force and will come from the opposite direction. Also, do not go outside to see "what the wind feels like." It is too easy to be hit by flying debris
- Beware of lightning & stay away from electrical equipment
- Don't use the phone or take a bath/shower during the storm
After The Hurricane
Typically, more deaths occur after a hurricane in Jamaica than during it. These deaths come from people being too anxious to get outside and survey the damage where they come into contact with downed power lines or unstable trees, etc.
Follow these suggestions for staying safe after the hurricane:
- Listen to the radio for updates and instructions.
- Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media
- Use cellphones only for emergencies
- Watch out for debris and downed power lines
- Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away
- Important! Watch for weakened roads, bridges, tree limbs or porches which could collapse unexpectedly
- Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide
dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
- Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim
Remember hurricanes are serious, the forecasters can only do so much, so it is important for us to educate ourselves and be prepared.